Skip to main content

Full text of "My wife and I: or, Harry Henderson's history"

See other formats


Google 



This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



''5'lTY\>j 



#1 




1 




*J' 






^ 


i 


& 






v^|fe|Pi^ 


^H 


^ 



ILELAID "SlANFOiKB' %) ' 



^itttfiiht Litton 



THE WRITINGS OF 

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE 

HTlTIf BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTIONS 

PORTRAITS, AND OTHER 

ILL USTRA TIONS 

IN SIXTEEN VOLUMES 
VOLUME XII 



? 



MY WIFE AND I 



<&c, iQStvs t^mbetson'e t^istor? 



HARRIET BEECHER STOWE 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON. MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

Abe CtfbtTtfftit ^nii, Cambnttgr 



C^ 



Ck>p}Tight, 1871, 
Bt J. B. FORD & 00. 

Copyrightf 1896, 
Bt HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN ft Oa 

Ocpyright, 1899, 
Bt OHABLBB E. BTOWB. 

AU rights reterved. 



261 086 



^ 



iBTBODDCTonr NOTB , . . . vii 

Adtho&'b Prefacb .......... xiii 

I. Mv Chilij-Wifb 1 

n. Our Child-Edeii 14 

ni. My Shadow-Wife ao 

lY. 1 8TABT FOR CoLbEOE 43 

T. Mr Dbbah-Wifb 63 

TL Tbk Vallkit oe HOMtLlATIOn ..... fit 

Vn. Thb Blub Mists 77 

Till. An OtiTixioK into Lips 85 

, IX. Cousin Caroliae 

X. Why don't You takb Her? 

XI. I LAT THE FlBSI StOHB IS MT FoOSBATIOM . 

XU. Bachblok Coubades 

Xin. Rafb Ann Mishaps 

XIV. I meet a Vision 

XV. The Girl of oijh Pebiod 

XVI. I AM ihtboducbd into Society . . 

XVII. The Touko Lady Puii.asopBBB ..... 80O 

XVni. Tlibtation 813 

XIX. I BEOOME A Family Fmehd SM 

P XX. I DISCOVER THE BeAITTIBB OF FBIBnCHBIF . . 8S4 

I XXI. I AM INTRODUCED TO fHB IlLUMTNATI . . . S« 

L XXII. I RECEIVE A MoBAi. Sdower-Bath .... 860 

L XXin. Aunt AIabia 367 

H XXIV. A Diaoimaion of the Woman Questios from all 

H Points 368 

H XXT. Cousin Caroline aoaik SSi 

H XXVI. Easter Lilies 393 

H XXVn. ENCHAnTUGNT AND DiSEHCHAHTMBMT . . ■ 803 

I XXVIII. A Kew OpEnino 330 

I XXI.X. PBRTURBATIOnS 833 

H XXX. The Fates HI 

H XXXI. The Oahe of Croquet >60 

I XXXn. The Match Game RU 



VI CONTENTS 

XXXm. Letter from Eva Van Arsdel 865 

XXXrV. Domestic Consultations 874 

XXXY. Wealth versus Love 381 

XXXYL Further Consultations 888 

XXXVIL Making Love to One's Father^in-Law . • . 895 

XXXVni. Accepted and Engaged . . . . . . 404 

XXXIX. Congratulations, etc. 418 

XL. The Explosion 419 

XLI. The Wedding and the Talk over the Prater- 
Book 425 

XLII. Bolton 486 

XLin. The Wedding Journey 440 

XLIV. My Wife's Wardrobe 449 

XLY. Letters from New York 455 

XLVI. Aunt Maria's Dictum 462 

XLVIL Our House 470 

XLYin. Picnicking in New York 475 

XTJX. Neighbors .*...•••• 480 

L. My Wife projects Hospitalities . • • • 486 

LL Preparations for our Dinner Party • • • 491 

LH. The House-W arming 495 

The frontispiece (Her New Daughter, page 448) and the vignette (My 
Child-Wife, page 11) are from drawings by Alice Barber Stephens. 



INTEODTTOTOET NOTE 

In the series of papers now included in Hrmtehold Papers 
and Stories, Mrs. Stowe had assumed the character of Chris- 
topher Crowfield. She followed the same plan in Oldtown 
Folks, where she figured as Henry Holyoke, and now, when 
t^ain essaying fiction which partook largely of the didactic 
element, she sheltered herself behind the masculine fiction 
of Harry Henderson. That what she wished to say re- 
specting society and social ideala must be said in the form 
of a story was somethiDg of a trial to her, and she evi- 
dently felt that in casting her work in this mould she was 
not following the natural hent of her mind, for a story to 
her was still the old-fashioned piece of literature of that 
name which recounted adventure; and in the two books 
which related the fortunes and spiritual experiences of the 
people grouped about Harry Henderson, there was not, in 
her plan, much adventure. 

She wrote this hook in her Florida home in 1S71 as a serial 
to be published in The Chi%stian Union, the new journal 
conducted under the name of her brother, Henry Ward 
Beecher ; and when the story was issued in book-form, it 
came out under the auspices of the publishers of that paper, 
Messrs. J. B. Ford & Co. The same firm announced later 
the sequel to this book, We and our Neighbors, to appear 
in The Christian Union, where it ran as a serial for nearly 
a year, from May, 1874, to April, 1875, being published 
imraediately afterward in book form. The attitude which 
Mrs. Stowe took toward both books is so well defined in tha 
first chapter of My Wife and I, as it originally stood, and 



viii INTEODUCTOBY NOTE 

that chapter was so essentially in the nature of an introduc- 
tion^ that it is now disengaged from the book proper and 

included here. 

THE AUTHOB DEFINES HIS POSITION 

It appears to me that the world is returning to its second 
childhood^ and running mad for Stories. Stories ! stories I 
stories ! everywhere ; stories in every paper, in every crev- 
ice, crack, and comer of the house. Stories fail from the 
pen faster than leaves of autumn, and of as many shades 
and colorings. Stories blow over here in whirlwinds from 
England. Stories are translated from the French, from the 
Danish, from the Swedish, from the German, from the 
Kussian. There are serial stories for adults in the Atlantic, 
in the Overland, in the Galaxy, in Harper's, in Scnbner^s, 
There are serial stories for youthful pilgrims in Our Young 
Folks, the Little Corporal, " Oliver Optic,^^ the Youth^s 
Companion, and very soon we anticipate newspapers with 
serial stories for the nursery. We shall have those charm- 
ingly illustrated magazines, the Cradle, the Rocking Chair, 
the First Battle, and the First Tooth, with successive 
chapters of " Goosy Goosy Gander," and " Hickory Dickory 
Dock," and " Old Mother Hubbard," extending through 
twelve, or twenty-four, or forty-eight numbers. 

I have often questioned what Solomon would have said 
if he had lived in our day. The poor man, it appears, was 
somewhat blase with the abundance of literature in his 
times, and remarked that much study was weariness to the 
flesh. Then, printing was not invented, and '^ books " 
were all copied by hand, in those very square Hebrew 
letters where each letter is about as careful a bit of work as 
a grave-stone. And yet, even with all these restrictions 
and circumscriptions, Solomon rather testily remarked, " Of 
making many books there is no end ! " What would he 
have said had he looked over a modem publisher's cata- 
logue ? 



INTEODDCTORT HOTB 

It is understood now that no paper is complet« without' I 

its serial story, and the spinning of these stories keeps thou- 
sands of wheels and spindles in motion. It is now under- 
stood that whoever wishes to gain the putilic ear, and to 
propound a new theory, must do it in a serial atory. Hath 
aoy one ia our day, as in St. Paul's, a psalm, a doctrine, a 1 
tongue, a revelation, an interpretation — forthwith he wraps I 
it up ia a serial story, and presents it to the public. We 
have prison discipline, free-trade, labor and capital, wo- 
man's rights, the temperance question, in serial stories. Wa i 
have Komanism and Protestantism, High Church and Low . 
Church and no Church, contending with each other in serial 
stories, where each side converts the other, according to ths 
faith of the narrator. 

We see that this thing ia to go on. Soon it will ho 
necessary that every leading clergyman should embody in 
his theology a serial story, to be delivered from the puJpit 
Sunday after Sunday. We look forward to announcements 
in our city papers such as these : The Hev. Dr. Ignatius, 
of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, will begin a serial 
romance, to he entitled "St. Sebastian and the Arrows," in 
■which he will embody the duties, the trials, and the teropta- 
tiona of the young Christians of our day. The Eev. Dr, 
Boanerges, of Plymouth Kock Church, will begin a serial 
story, entitled " Calvin's Daughter," in which he will dis- 
cuss the distinctive features of Protestant theology. The 
Eev. Dr, Cool Shadow will go on with his interesting 
romance of " Christianity a Dissolving View," — designed 
to show how everything is, in many respects, like every- 
thing else, and all things lead somewhere, and everything 
will finally end somehow, and that therefore it ia important 
that everybody should cultivate general sweetness, and 
have the very beat time possible in this world. 

By the time all these romances get to going, the system 
of teaching by parables, and opening one's mouth in dark 



X INTRODITCTORY KOTK I 

sayinga, will be fully elaborated. Filgrim'i Progress will 
be nowbere. Tlie way to the celestial city will be as plain 
in everybody's mind as the way up Broadway — and so 
much more interesting ! Finally all science and all art will 
be explained, conducted, and directed by serial stories, till 
the present life and tbe life to come shall form only one 
grand romauce. This will be about the time of tbe Millen- 

Meanwhile, I have been furnishing a story for the Chris- 
tian Union, and I chose the subject which is in everybody's 
mind and mouth, discussed on every platform, ringing from 
everybody's tongue, and coming Lome to every man's busi- 
ness and bosom, to wit : 

MV WIFE AND 1. 

I trust that Miss Anthony and !Mrs. Stanton, and all the 
prophetesses of our day, will remark tbe humility and pro- 
IJ priety of my title. It is not I and My Wife — oh no 1 It 

1 ia My Wife and I. What am I, and what is my father's 

J house, that I should go before my wife in anything ? 

' " But why specially for the Christian Union ? " sajB 

Mr. Chadband. Let us in a spirit of Love inquire. 

Is it not evident why, beloved ? Ia not that firm 
in human nature which stands under the title of My Wifh 
AND I, the oldest and most venerable form of Christian 
union on record ? Where, I ask, will you find a better 
one ? — a wiser, a stronger, a sweeter, a more universally 
popular and agreeable one ? 

To be sure, there have been times and seasons when this 
ancient and respectable firm has been attacked as a piece of 
old fogyism, and various substitutes for it proposed. It hsa 
been said that " Mt Wife and I " denoted a selfish, close 
corporation inconsistent with a general, all-sided diffusive, 
universal benevolence ; that My Wife and I, in a millen- 
nial community, had no particular rights in each other more 



L 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

than any of the thousands of the brethren and Biatera of tha 
human race. They have said, too, that My Wife and I, 
instead of an indissoluble unity, were only temporary part 
nera, engaged on time, with the liberty of giving three 
months' notice, and Blotting off to a new firm. 

It is not thus that we understand the matter. 

My Wife and I, tre we understand it, is the aign and 
symbol of more than any earthly partnership or union — of 
something aacred as religion, indissoluble as the soul, end- 
less aa eternity — the aymhol chosen by Almighty Love to 
represent hia redeeming, eternal union with the a<ml of 
man. A fountain of eternal youth gushea near the hearth of 
every household. All men and women that have loved 
truly have had their romance in life — their poetry in ex- 
istence. 

So I, in giving my history, disclaim all other aoarcea of 
interest. Look not for trap-doors, or haunted houses, or 
deadly conspiracies, or murders, or concealed crimes, in this 
history, for you will not find one. You shall have simply 
and only the old story — old as the first chapter of Genesis 
— of Adam stupid, desolate, and lonely without Eve, and 
how ha sought and how he found her. 

Thus much, on mature consideration, I hold to he about 
the aum and substance of all the romances that have ever 
been written, and so long as there are new Adams and new 
Evoa in each coming generation, it will not want for sym- 
pathetic listeners. 

So I, Harry Henderson — a plain Yankee boy from the 
mountains of New Hampshire, and at present citiEen of 
New York — commence my atory. 

My experiences have three stages : 

First, My child-wife, or tha ostperiencea of childhood. 

Second, My shadow-wife, or the dreamland of the future. 

Third, my real wife, where I aaw her, how Z sought and 
found her. 



xii INTRODUCTOBY NOTE 

In pursuing a story simply and mainly of love and mar- 
riage, I am reminded of the saying of a respectable serving- 
man of European experiences, who, speaking of his position 
in a noble family, said it was not so much the wages that 
made it an object as " the things it enabled a gentleman to 
pick up.'' So in our modem days, as we have been observ- 
ing, it is not so much the story, as the things it gives the 
author a chance to say. The history of a young American 
man^s progress toward matrimony of course brings him 
among the most stirring and exciting topics of the day, 
where all that relates to the joint interests of man and 
woman has been thrown into the arexia as an open question, 
and in relating our own experiences, we shall take occasion 
to keep up with the spirit of this discussing age in all these 
matters. 




PREFACE 

Bdbihq the pasB^e of thia story through The Christian 
Union, it has been repeatedly taken for granted by the 
public press that certain of the characters are designed as 
portraits of really existing individuals. 

They are not. The suppoBitioa has its rise in an imper- 
fect consideration of the principles of dramatic compositiou. 
The novel-writer does not profess to paint portraits of any 
individual men and women in hia personal acquaintance. 
Certain characters are required for the purposes of his story. 
He conceives and creates them, and they become to him 
real living beings, acting and speaking in ways of their own. 
But on the other hand, he ia guided in this creation by bis 
knowledge and experience of men and women, and studies 
individual instances and incidents only to assure himself of 
the possibility and probability of the character be creates. 
If he succeeds in making the character real and natural, 
people often are led to identify it with some individual of 
their acquaintance. A slight incident, an anecdote, a para- 
graph in a paper, often furnishes the foundation of such a 
character ; and the work ol drawing it is like the process 
by which Ptofesaot Agassiz from one bone reconstructs the 
whole form of an unknown fish. But to apply to any 
single living person such delineation ia a mistake, and might 
be a great wrong both to the author and to the person 
designated. 

For instance, it being the author's purpose to show the 
embarrassment of the young champion of progressive prin- 
ciples, in meeting the excesses of modern reformers, it came 



XIV PREFACE 

in her way to paint the picture of the modern emancipated 
young woman of advanced ideas and free hehavior. And 
this character has been mistaken for the portrait of an indi' 
vidual, drawn from actual ohservation. On the contrary, 
it was not the author's intention to draw an individual, hut 
simply to show the type of a class. Facta aa to conduct 
and behavior aimilar to those she has described are imhat>- 
piiy too familiar to residents of Kew York. Bat in this as 
in other cases the author has simply used isolated facts in 
the construction of a dramatic character suited to the design 
of the story. If the readers of to-day will turn back to 
Miss Edgeworth's Belinda, they will find that this style 
of manners, these assumptions and mode of asserting them, 
are no new things. In the character of Harriet Freke, Miss 
Edgeworth vividly portrays the manners and sentiments of 
the modern emancipated women of our times, who think 
themselves 

Certainly the author knows no original fully answering 
to the character of Mrs. Cerulean, though she has heard 
such an one described ; and doubtless there are traits in 
her equally attributable to all fair enthusiasts who mistake 
the influence of their own personal charms and fascinations 
over the other sex for real superiority of intellect. 

There are happily several young women whose vigorous 
self-sustaining careers, in opening paths of usefulness alike 
for themselves and others, are like that of Ida Van Arsdel ; 
and the true experiences of a lovely New York girl first 
suggested the character of Eva ; yet both of them are, in 
execution, strictly imaginary paintings, adapted to the story. 
In short, some real character, or, in many cases, some two 
01 three, furnish the germs, but the germs only, out of 
which new chaiactera are developed. 



4 



PREFACE XV 

In close : The author wishes to dedicate this Story to 
the many dear, bright young girls whom she is so happy as 
to number among her choicest friends. Ko matter what 
the critics say of it, if they like it; and she hopes from 
them, at least, a favorable judgment 

!EL B. S. 

Twin-Mountain House, N. H» 
October, 1871. 



MY WIFE AND I 



CHAPTER I 

MY CHILD-WIFE 

The Bible says it is not good for man to be alone. 
This is a truth that has been borne in on my mind, with 
peculiar force, from the earliest of my recollection. In 
fact, when I was only seven years old I had selected my 
wife, and asked the paternal consent. 

You see, I was an unusually lonesome little fellow, be- 
cause I belonged to the number of those unlucky waifs who 
come into this mortal life under circumstances when nobody 
wants or expects them. My father was a poor country 
minister in the mountains of New Hampshire with a salary 
of six hundred dollars, with nine children. I was the 
tenth. I was not expected; my immediate predecessor was 
five years of age, and the gossips of the neighborhood had 
already presented congratulations to my mother on having 
"done up her work in the forenoon," and being ready to 
sit down to afternoon leisure. Her well-worn baby clothes 
were all given away, the cradle was peaceably consigned to 
the garret, and my mother was now regarded as without 
excuse if she did not preside at the weekly prayer-meeting, 
the monthly Maternal Association, and the Missionary 
meeting, and perform besides regular pastoral visitations 
among the good wives of her parish. 

No one, of course, ever thought of voting her any little 
extra salary on account of these public duties which ab- 



2 MY WIFE AND I 

3orbed so much time and attention from her perplexing 
domestic cares — rendered still more severe and onerous by 
my father's limited salary. My father's six hundred dol- 
lars, however, was considered by the farmers of the vicinity 
as being a princely income, which accounted satisfactorily 
for everything, and had he not been considered by them as 
''about the smartest man in the State,'' they could not 
have gone up to such a figure. My mother was one of 
those gentle, soft-spoken, quiet little women who, like oil, 
permeate every crack and joint of life with smoothness. 
With a noiseless step, an almost shadowy movement, her 
hand and eye were everywhere. Her house was a miracle 
of neatness and order, her children of all ages and sizes 
under her perfect control, and the accumulations of labor 
of all descriptions which beset a great family where there 
are no servants all melted away under her hands as if by 
enchantment. 

She had a divine magic too, that mother of mine; if it 
be magic to commune daily with the supernatural. She 
had a little room all her own, where on a stand always lay 
open the great family Bible, and when work pressed hard 
and children were untoward, when sickness threatened, 
when the skeins of life were all crossways and tangled, she 
went quietly to that room, and kneeling over that Bible, 
took hold of a warm, healing, invisible hand, that made 
the crooked straight, and the rough places plain. 

"Poor Mrs. Henderson — another boy!" said the gos- 
sips on the day that I was bom. " What a shame ! poor 
woman. Well, I wish her jpy ! " 

But she took me to p warm bosom and bade God bless 
me! All that God sent to her was treasure. "Who 
knows," she said "Jneerily to my father, "this may be our 
brightest. " 

" God bless him I " said my father, kissing me and my 
mother, and then he returned to an important treatise 



MY CHILD-WIFE 8 

wtich was to reconcile the decrees of God with the free 
agency of man, and which the event of my entrance into 
this world had interrupted for some hours. The aermon 
was a perfect success I am told, and nobody that heard it 
ever had a moment's further trouble on that subject. 

As to me, my outfit fgr this world was of the seantest 
— a few yellow flannel petticoats and a few slips run up 
from some of my older sisters' cast-off white gowns were 
deemed sufficient. 

The first child in a family is its poem — it is a sort of 
nativity play, and we bend, before the young stranger, 
with gifts, " gold, frankincense, and myrrb, " But the 
tenth child in a poor famUy is prose, and gets simply what 
is due to comfort. There ate no superiluities, no fripper- 
ies, no idealities about the tenth cradle. 

As I grew up I found myself rather a solitary little fel- 
low in a great house, full of the bustle and noise and con- 
flicting claims of older brothers and sisters, who had got 
the floor in the stage of life before me, and who were too 
buay with their own wants, schemes, and plans, to regard 
me. I was all very well so long as I kept within the lim- 
its of babyhood. They said I was the handsomest baby 
ever pertaining to the family establishment, and as lorg aa 
that quality and condition lasted I was made a pet of. 
My sisters curled my golden locks and made me wonderful 
little frocks, and took me about to show me. But when I 
grew bigger, and the golden locks were sheared off and 
replaced by straight light hair, and I was inducted into 
jacket and pantaloons, cut down by Miss Abia Ferkin from 
my next brother's last year's suit, outgrown — then I was 
turned upon the world to shift for myself. Babyhood was 
over, and manhood not begun — I was to rnn the gauntlet 
of boyhood. 

My brothers and sisters were affectionate enough in their 
way, but had not the least sentiment, and, as I said before, 



4 MY WIFE AND I 

they had each one their own concerns to look after. My 
eldest brother was in college, my next brother was fitting 
for college in a neighboring academy, and used to walk ten 
miles daily to his lessons and take his dinner with him. 
One of my older sisters was married, the two next were 
handsome lively girls, with a retinue of beaux, who of 
course took up a deal of their time and thoughts. The^ 
sister next before me was five years above me on the lists 
of life, and of course looked down on me as a little boy 
unworthy of her society. When her two or three chatter- 
ing girl friends came to see her and they had their dolls 
and their baby-houses to manage, I was always in the way. 
They laughed at my awkwardness, criticised my nose, my 
hair, and my ears to my face, with that feminine freedom 
by which the gentler sex joy to put down the stronger one 
when they have it at advantage. I used often to retire 
from their society swelling with impotent wrath, at their 
free comments. "I won't play with you," I would ex- 
claim. "Nobody wants you," would be the rejoinder. 
"We 've been wanting to be rid of you this good while." 

But as I was a stout little fellow, my elders thought it 
advisable to devolve on me any such tasks and errands as 
interfered with their comfort. I was sent to the store 
when the wind howled and the frost bit, and my brothers 
and sisters preferred a warm corner. " He 's only a boy, 
he can go, or he can do, or he can wait," was always the 
award of my sisters. • 

My individual pursuits, and my own little stock of in- 
terests, were of course of no account. I was required to 
be in a perfectly free, disengaged state of mind, and ready 
to drop everything at a moment's warning from any of 
my half-dozen seniors. "Here, Hal, run down cellar and 
get me a dozen apples," my brother would say, just as I 
had half built a block house. "Harry, run upstairs and 
get the book I left on the bed — Harry, run out to the 



MY CHILB-WITE 

barn and get the rake I left there — Here, Harrj, carry 
tbia up garret — Harry, run out to the tool shop and get i 
that " — ware sounds constantly occurring — breaking up I 
my private cherished little enterprises of building cob I 
houses, making milldaniB and bridges, or loading carriages, 
or driving horses. Where is the mature Christian who 
cou!d bear with patit-nce the interruptions and crosses in 
his daily schemes that beset a boy 1 

Then tliere were for me dire mortifications and bitter | 
disappointments. If any company came and the family 
board was filled and the cake and preserves brought out, 
and gay conversation ihhiIb my heart bound with special 
longings to be in at the fun, I heard them say, "No need 
to set a plate for Harry ^ be can just as well wait till 
after." I can recollect many a serious deprivation of ma- 
ture life that did not briiig such bitterness of soul as that 
sentence of .exclusion. Then when my sister's admirer, 
Sam Bichards, was expected, and the best parlor fire 
lighted, and the hearth swept, how I longed to sit up and 
hear his funny stories, how I hid in dark comers, and lay 
off in shadowy places, hoping to escape notice and so avoid 
the activity of the domestic police. But no, "Mamma, 
mustn't Harry go to bedl " was the busy outcry of my 
sisters, desirous to have the deck cleared for action, and 
superfluous members finally disposed of. 

Take it for all in all — I felt myself, thoiigh not want- 
ing in the supply of any physical necessity, to be somehow, 
aa I said, a very lonesome little fellow in the world. In 
all Jhat busy, lively, gay, bustling household I had no 
mate. 

"I think we must send Harry to school," said my mo- 
ther, gently, to my father, when I had vented this com- 
plaint in her maternal hoaom. "Poor little fellow, he is 
an odd one! — there isn't exactly any one in the house 
for him to mate with! " 



6 MY WIFE AND I 

So to school I was sent, with a clean checked apron, 
drawn up tight in my neck, and a dinner hasket, and a 
brown towel on which I was to be instructed in the whole- 
some practice of sewing. I went, trembling and blushing, 
with many an apprehension of the big boys who had prom- 
ised to thrash me when I came; but the very first day I 
was made blessed in the vision of my little child-wife, 
Susie Morril. 

Such a pretty, neat little figure as she was ! I saw her 
first standing in the school-room door. Her cheeks and 
neck were like wax; her eyes clear blue; and when she 
smiled, two little dimples flitted in and out on her cheeks, 
like those in a sunny brook. She was dressed in a pink 
gingham frock, with a clean white apron fitted trimly about 
her little round neck. She was her mother's only child, 
and always daintily dressed. 

"0 Susie dear," said my mother, who had me by the 
hand, "I've brought a little boy here to school, who will 
be a mate for you." 

How affably and graciously she received me — the little 
Eve — all smiles and obligingness and encouragement for 
the lumpish, awkward Adam. How she made me sit down 
on a seat by her, and put her little white arm cosily over 
my neck, as she laid the spelling-book on her knee, saying 
— " / read in Baker. Where do you read ? " 

Friend, it was Webster's Spelling-Book that was their 
text-book, and many of you will remember where " Baker " 
is in that literary career. The column of words thus 
headed was a milestone on the path of infant progress. 
But my mother had been a diligent instructress at home, 
and I an apt scholar, and my breast swelled as I told little 
Susie that I had gone beyond Baker. I saw "respect 
mingling with surprise " in her great violet eyes ; my soul 
was enlarged — my little frame dilated, as turning over to 
the picture of the "old man who found a rude boy on one 



MY CHILD-WIFE 



' I answered her that I had 



"only think, girls 

n my own esteem; two or 
ident consideration. 
3ur side ! " said Susie en- 
1 to let you, 'cause she said 



of his trees stealing apple 
read there ! 

"Why-ee/" said the little maidt 
— he reads in readings ! " 

I was set up and glorified in m; 
three girls looked at me with e 

"Don't you want to sit on 
gagingly. "I '11 ask Miss Bes; 

the big hoys always plague the little ones." And 
she was a smooth-tongued little favorite, she not only in- 
troduced me to the teacher, but got me comfortably niched 
beside her dainty self on the hard, backless seat, where I 
sat swinging my heels, and looking for all the world like 
a rough little short-tailed robin, just pushed out of the 
neat, and surveying the world with round, anxious eyes. 
The big boys quizzed me, made hideous faces at me from 
behind their spelling-books, -and great hulking Tom Halli- 
day threw a spitball that lodged on the wall just over my 
head, by way of showing his contempt for me; but I 
looked at Susie, and took courage. I thought I never saw 
anything so pretty aa she was, I was never tired with 
following the mazes of her golden curls. I thought how 
dainty and nice and white her pink dress and white apron 
were ; and she wore a pair of wonderful little red shoes. 
Her tiny bands were so skillful and so busy ! She turned 
the hem of my brown towel, and basted it for me so nicely, 
and then she teok out some delicate rulHing that was her 
school work, and I admired her bright, Sne needle and fine 
thread, and the waxen little finger crowned with a little 
brass thimble, as she sewed away with an industrious 
steadiness. To me the brass was gold, and her hands were 
pearl, and she was a little fairy princess! — yet every few 
momenta she turned her great blue eyes on me, and smiled 
and nodded her little head knowingly, as much as to bid 
me be of good cheer, and I felt a thrill go right to my 
heart, that beat delightedly under the checked apron. 



8 MY WIFE AND I 

"Please, ma'am," said Susan glibly, "mayn't Harry 
go out to play with the girls ? The big boys are so rough. " 

And Miss Bessie smiled, and said I might; and I was 
a blessed little boy from that moment. In the first recess 
Susie instructed me in playing "Tag," and "Oats, peas, 
beans, and barley, 0," and in "Threading the needle," and 
playing " Open the gates as high as the sky, to let King 
George and his court pass by " — in all which she was a 
proficient, and where I needed a great deal of teaching and 
encouraging. 

But when it came to more athletic feats, I could distin- 
guish myself. I dared jump off from a higher fence than 
she could, and covered myself with glory by climbing to 
the top of a five-railed gate, and jumping boldly down; and 
moreover, when a cow appeared on the green before the 
school-house door, I marched up to her with a stick and 
ordered her off, with a manly stride and a determined 
voice, and chased her with the utmost vigor quite out of 
sight. These proceedings seemed to inspire Susie with a 
certain respect and confidence. I could read in "readings," 
jump off from high fences, and wasn't afraid of cows! 
These were manly accomplishments! 

The school-house was a long distance from my father's, 
and I used to bring my dinner. Susie brought hers also, 
and many a delightful picnic have we had together. We 
made ourselves a house under a great button-ball tree, at 
whose foot the grass was short and green. Our house was 
neither more nor less than a square, marked out on the 
green turf by stones taken from the wall. I glorified my- 
self in my own eyes and in Susie's, by being able to lift 
stones twice as heavy as she could, and a big flat one, 
which nearly broke my back, was deposited in the centre 
of the square, as our table. We used a clean pocket-h**nd- 
kerchief for a table-cloth ; and Susie was wont to set out 
our meals with great order, making plates and dishes out 



MT CHILD-WIFE 9 

of the button-ball leavea. Under her direction also, I 
fitted up our house with a pantry, and a email room where 
we used to play wash dishes, and set away what was left 
of OUT meals. The pantry was a stone cupboard, where 
we kept chestnuts and apples, and what remained of our 
cookies and gingerbread. Susie was fond of ornamenta- 
tion, and stuck bouquets of golden-rod and aster around in 
one best room, and there we received company, and had 
select society come to see ub. Susie brought her doll to 
dwell in this eatabliabment, and I made her a bedroom and 
a little bed of milkweed-ailk to lie on. We put her to bed 
and tucked her up when we went into school — not with- 
out apprehension that those savages, the big hoys, might 
visit our Eden with devastation. But the girls' recess 
came first, and We could venture to leave her there taking 
a nap till our play-time came; and when the girls went in 
Susie rolled her nursling in a napkin and took her safely 
into school, and laid her away in a corner of her desk, 
whDe the dreadful big boya were having their yelling war- 
whoop and carnival outside. 

"How nice it is to have Harry gone all day to school," 
I heard one of my sisters saying to the other. "He used 
to be so in the way, meddling and getting into everything." 
— "And listening to everything one says," said the other. 
"Children have such horridly quick ears. Harry always 
listens to what we talk about." 

"I think he is happier now, poor little fellow," said my 
mother. "He has somebody now to play with." Thia 
was the truth of the matter. 

On Saturday afternoons, I used to beg of my mother to 
let me go and see Susie ; and my sisters, nothing loath, used 
to brush my hair and put on me a stiff, clean, checked 
apron, and send me trotting off, the happiest of young lov- 
ers. How bright and fair life seemed to me those Satur- 
day afternoons, when the sun, through the picket fences, 



made golden-green lines on the turf — and the trees waved 
and whispered, and I gathered handfnls of golden-rod and 
asters to ornament our house, under the button- wood tree I 
Then we used to play in the haru together. We hunted 
for hens' eggs, and I dived under the bam to dark places 
where she dared not go ; and climbed up to high places over 
the hay-mow, where she trembled to behold me — bringing 
stores of eggs, which ahe received in her clean white apron. 

This daintiness of outfit excited my constant admiration, 
I wore stiff, heavy jackets and cheeked aprons, and waa 
constantly,, so roy sisters said, wearing holes through my 
knees and elbows for them to patch; but little Susie always 
appeared to me fresh and fine and untumbled ; she never 
dirtied ber hands or soiled her dress. Like a true little 
woman, ahe seemed to have nerves through all her clothes 
that kept them in order. This nicety of person inspired 
me with a secret, wondering reverence. How could she 
always be so clean, so trim, and every way so pretty, I 
wondered 1 Her golden curia always seemed fresh from 
the brush, and even when she climbed and ran, and went 
with me into the barn-yard, or through the awamp and into 
all sorts of compromising places, she somehow picked her 
way out bright and unsoiled. 

But though I admired her ceaselessly for this, she was 
no leas in admiration of my daring strength and prowess. 
I felt myself a perfect Paladin in her defense. I remem- 
ber that the chip-yard which we used to cross, on our way 
to the bam, was tyrannized over by a most loud-mouthed 
and arrogant old turkey-cock, that used to strut and swell 
and gobble and chitter greatly to her terror. She told me 
of different times when ahe had tried to cross the yard 
alone, how be bad jumped upon her and flapfted hie wings, 
and thrown ber down, to her great distress and horror. 
The first time he tried the gamo on me, I marched up to 
him, and, by a dexterous pass, seized his red neck 



my I 



MY CHILD-WIFE 



11 



liand, ami, confining his wings down with my arm, walked 
him ingloriously out of the yard. 

How triumphant Susie was, and how I Bwelled and ex- 
ulted to her, telling her what I would do to protect her 
under every supposabie variety of circumstances! Susie 
had confessed to me of heicg dreadfully afraid of "hears,'' 
and I took this occasion to tell her what I would do if a 
beat should actually attack her. I assured her that I 
would get father's gun and aboot him without mercy — 
and she listened and believed. I also dilated on what I 
would do if robbers should get into the house; I wouid, I 
informed her, immediately get up and pour ehovelfuls of 
hot coal down their backs — and wouldn't they have to 
run J What comfort and security this view of matters 
gave ua both ! What bears and robbers were, we had no 
very precise idea, hut it was a comfort to think how strong 
and adequate to meet them in any event I was. 

Sometimes, of a Saturday afternoon, Susie was permitted 
to come and play with me. I always went after her, and 
solicited the favor humbly at the hands of her mother, who, 
after many washings and dressings and cautions as to her 
clothes, delivered her up to me, with the condition that 
she was to start for home when the sun was half an hour 
high. Susie was very conscientious in watching, but for 
my part I never agreed with her. I was always sure that 
the Bun was an hour high, when she set her little face 
dutifully homeward. My sisters used to pet her greatly 
during these visits. They delighted to twine her curls 
over their fingers, and try the effects of different articles of 
costume on her fair complexion. They would ask her, 
laughing, would she be my little wife, to which she always 
answered with a grave affirmative. 

Yes, she was to be my wife ; it was all settled between 
UB, But when? I didn't see why we must wait till we 
grew up. She was lonesome when I was gone, and I was 



12 MY WIFE AND I 

lonesome when she was gone. Why not marry her now, 
and take her home to live with me ? I asked her and she 
said she was willing, hut mamma never would spare her. 
I said I would get my mamma to ask her, and I knew she 
could n't refuse, because my papa was the minister. 

I turned the matter over and over in my mind, and 
thought some time when I could find my mother alone, I 
would introduce the subject. So one evening, as I sat on 
my little stool at my mother's knees, I thought I would 
open the subject, and began: — 

"Mamma, why do people object to early marriages?" 

" Early marriages 1 " said my mother, stopping her knit- 
ting, looking at me, while a smile flashed over her thin 
cheeks: "what 's the child thinking of 1 " 

"I mean, why can't Susie and I be married now? I 
want her here. I 'm lonesome without her. Nobody 
wants to play with me in this house, and if she were here 
we should be together all the time." 

My father woke up from his meditation on his next 
Sunday's sermon, and looked at my mother, smiling. A 
gentle laugh rippled her bosom. 

"Why, dear," she said, "don't you know your father is 
a poor man, and has hard work to support his children 
now? He couldn't afford to keep another little girl." 

I thought the matter over, sorrowfully. Here was the 
pecuniary difficulty, that puts off so many desiring lovers, 
meeting me on the very threshold of life. 

"Mother," I said, after a period of mournful considera- 
tion, "I wouldn't eat but. just half as much as I do now, 
and I 'd try not to wear out my clothes, and make 'em last 
longer." 

My mother had very bright eyes, and there was a min- 
gled flash of tears and laughter in them, as when the sun 
winks through raindrops. She lifted me gently into her 
lap and drew my head down on her bosom. 



MY CHILD-WIFE 13 

"Some day, when my little son grows to be a man, I 
hope God will give him a wife he loves dearly. * Houses 
and lands are from the fathers; hut a good wife is of the 
Lord,' the Bible says." 

"That 's true, dear," said my father, looking at her ten- 
derly; "nobody knows that better than I do." 

My mother rocked gently back and forward with me in 
the evening shadows, and talked with me and soothed me, 
and told me stories how one day I should grow to be a 
good man — a minister, like my father, she hoped — and 
have a dear little house of my own. 

"And wiU Susie be in it?" 

"Let 's hope so," said my mother. "Who knows? " 

"But, mother, aren't you sure? I want you to say it 
will be certainly." 

"My little one, only our dear Father could tell us that," 
said my mother. "But now you must try and learn fast, 
and become a good strong man, so that you can take care 
of a little wife." 



CHAPTER n 

OUB CHILD-EDEN 

My mother's talk aroused all the enthusiasm of my 
nature. Here was a motive, to be sure. I went to bed 
and dreamed of it. I thought over all possible ways of 
growing big and strong rapidly — I had heard the stories of 
Samson from the Bible. How did he grow so strong? 
He was probably once a little boy like me. "Did he go 
for the cows, I wonder," thought I, "and let down very 
big bars when his hands were little, and learn to ride the 
old horse bare- back, when his legs were very short 1 " All 
these things I was emulous to do; and I resolved to lift 
very heavy pails full of water, and very many of them, 
and to climb into the mow, and throw down great armfuls 
of hay, and in every possible way to grow big and strong. 

I remember the next day after my talk with my mother 
was Saturday, and I had leave to go up and spend it with 
Susie. 

There was a meadow just back of her mother's house, 
which we used to call the mowing lot. It was white with 
daisies, yellow with buttercups, with some moderate share 
of timothy and herds-grass intermixed. But what was 
specially interesting to us was, that, down low at the roots 
of the grass, and here and there in moist, rich spots, grew 
wild strawberries, large and juicy, rising on nice high 
stalks, with three or four on a cluster. What joy there 
was in the possession of a whole sunny Saturday afternoon 
to be spent with Susie in this meadow. To me the amount 
of happiness in the survey was greatly in advance of what 



OUE CHILD-IDES 



15 



I now have in the view of a. three weeks' 

81011. 

When, after multiplied cautions and directions, and care- 
ful adjuetment of Susie's clothing, on the part of her 
mother, Susie was fairly delivered up to me; when we had 
turned our backs on the house and got beyond call, then 
our hliss waa complete. How carefully and patronizingly 
I helped her up the loose, mosay, atone wall, all hedged 
with a wilderness of golden-rod, fema, raspberry bushes, 
and astersl Down we went through this tangled thicket, 
into Buch a secure world of joy, where the daisied meadow 
received us to her motherly hoaom, and we were sure no- 
body could see ua. 

We could sit down and look upward, and see daisies and 
grassea nodding and bobbing over our heads, hiding us as 
completely as two young grass birds ; and it was such fun 
to think that nobody could find out where we were I Two 
bobolinks, who had a nest somewhere in that lot, used to 
mount guard in an old apple-tree, and sit on tall, bending 
twigs, and say, "Chack! chack! ohack!" and flutter their 
black and white wings up and down, and burst out into 
moat elaborate and complicated babbles of melody. These 
were our only associates and witnesses. We thought that 
they knew us, and were glad to see us there, and wouldn't 
tell anybody where we were for the world. There was an 
exquisite pleasure to us in this sense of utter isolation — of 
being hid with each other where nobody could find us. 

We had worlds of nice secrets peculiar to ourselves. 
Hobody but ourselves knew where the " thick spots " were, 
where the ripe, scarlet strawberries grew; the big boys 
never suspected them, we said to one another, nor the big 
girls ; it was our own secret, which we kept between our 
own little selves. How we searched, and picked, and 
chatted, and oh'd and ah'd to each other, as we found 
wonderful places, where the strawberries passed all belief I 



16 MY WIFE AND I 

But profoundest of all our wonderful secrets were our 
discoveries in the region of animal life. We found, in a 
tuft of grass overshadowed by wild roses, a grass bird's 
nest. In vain did the cunning mother creep yards from 
the cherished spot, and then suddenly fly up in the wrong 
place; we were not to be deceived. Our busy hands 
parted the lace curtains of fern, and, with whispers of 
astonishment, we counted the little speckled, blue-green 
eggs. How round and fine and exquisite, past all gems 
polished by art, they seemed; and what a mystery was the 
little curious smooth-lined nest in which we found them! 
We talked to the birds encouragingly. "Dear little birds," 
we said, "don't be afraid; nobody but we shall know it;" 
and then we said to each other, " Tom Halliday never shall 
find this out, nor Jim Fellows." They would carry off 
the eggs and tear up the nest; and our hearts swelled with 
such a responsibility for the tender secret, that it was all 
we could do that week to avoid telling it to everybody we 
met. We informed all the children at school that we knew 
something that they didn't — something that we never 
should tell! — something so wonderful! — something that 
it would be wicked to tell of — for mother said so ; for be 
it observed that, like good children, we had taken our 
respective mothers into confidence, and received the strict- 
est and most conscientious charges as to our duty to keep 
the birds' secret. 

In that enchanted meadow of ours grew tall, yellow lilies, 
glowing as the sunset, hanging down their bells, six or 
seven in number, from high, graceful stalks, like bell 
towers of fairy land. They were over our heads some- 
times, as they rose from the grass and daisies, and we 
looked up into their golden hearts spotted with black, with 
a secret, wondering joy. 

"Oh, don't pick them, they look too pretty," said Susie 
to me once when I stretched up my hand to gather one of 



OUK CHILD-EDEN 



17 



tbeae. "Let 's leave them to be here when we come again 1 
I like to see them wave." 

And so we left the tallest of them; but I was not for- 
bidden to gather handfuls of the less wonderful specimens 
that grew only one or two on a stalk. Our bouqueta of 
flowers increased with our strawberries. 

Through the middle of this meadow chattered a little 
brook, gurgling and tinkling over many-colored pebbles, 
and here and there collecting itself into a miniature water- 
fall, as it pitched over a broken bit of rock. For our 
height and size, the waterfalls of this little brook were 
equal to those of Trenton, or any of the medium cascadea 
that draw the fashionable crowd of grown-up pejple; and 
what was the best of it was, it was our brook, and our 
waterfall. We found them, and we verily believed nobody 
ebe but ourselves knew of them. 

By this waterfall, as I called it, which was certainly a 
foot and a half high, we sat and arranged our strawberries 
when our baskets were full, and I talked with Susie about 
what my mother had told me. 

I can see her now, the little crumb of womanhood, as 
she sat, gayly laughing at me. "She didn't care a bit," 
she said. She had just as lief wait till I grew to be a 
man. Why, we could go to school together, and have 
Saturday afternoons together. "Don't you mind it, HaMy 
Dazzy," she said, coming close up to me, and putting her 
little arms coaxingly round my neck ; " we love each other, 
and it's ever so nic« now." 

I wonder what the reason is that it is one of the first 
moTements of affectionate feeling to change the name of 
the loved one. Give a baby a name, ever so short and 
ever so musical, where is the mother that does not twist it 
into some other pet name between herself and her child ! 
So Snsie, when she was very loving, called me Hazzy, and 
would play on my name, and call me Hazzy 



18 MY WIFE AND I 

« 

Dazzy, and sometimes Dazzy, and we laughed at this he- 
cause it was hetween us; and we amused ourselves with 
thinking how surprised people would he to hear her say 
Dazzy, and how they would wonder who she meant. In 
like manner, I used to call her Daisy when we were hy 
ourselves, hecause she seemed to me so neat and trim and 
pure, and wore a little flat hat on Sundays just like a daisy. 

"T '11 tell you, Daisy," said I, "just what I 'm going to 
do — I 'm going to grow strong as Samson did." 

" Oh, hut how can you 1 " she suggested douhtfuUy. 

"Oh, I'm going to run and jump and climh, and carry 
ever so much water for mother, and I 'm to ride on horse* 
hack and go to mill, and go all round on errands, and so I 
shall get to he a man fast, and when I get to he a man I '11 
huild a house all on purpose for you and me — I '11 huild 
it all myself; it shall have a parlor and a dining-room and 
kitchen, and hed-room, and well-room, and chamhers " — 

"And nice closets to put things in," suggested the little 
woman. 

"Certainly, ever so many — just where you want them, 
there I'll put them," said I, with surpassing liberality. 
"And then, when we live together, I'll take care of you 
— I'll keep off all the lions and hears and panthers. If 
a bear should come at youj Daisy, I should tear him right 
in two, just as Samson did." 

At this vivid picture, Daisy nestled close to my shoulder, 
and her eyes grew large and reflective. "We shouldn't 
leave poor mother alone," said she. 

"Oh, no; she shall come and live with us," said I, with 
an exalted generosity. " I will make her a nice chamber 
on purpose, and my mother shall come, too." 

"But she can't leave your father, you know." 

"Oh, father shall come, too — when he gets old and 
can't preach any more. I shall take care of them all." 

And my little Daisy looked at me with eyes of approving 



QUE OHILD-EDEN 



19 ■ 



credulity, and said I was a, brave boy ; and the bobolinks chit- 
teied and chattered applause as they sang and skirmished 
and whirled up over the meadow grasses ; and by and by, 
when the sun fell low, and looked like a great golden ball, 
with our hands full of lilies, aud our basketa full of atraw- 
berries, we climbed over the old wall, and toddled home. 

After that, I remember many gay and joyous passages in 
that happiest summer of my life. How, when autumn 
came, we roved through the woods together, and gathered 
such stores of glossy brown chestnuts, Wbat joy it was 
to us to scuff through the painted fallen leaves and send 
them flying like showers of jewels before ual How I 
reconnoitred and marked available chestnut- trees, and how 
I gloried in being able to climb like a cat, and get astride 
h^h limbs and shake and beat them, and hear the glossy 
brown nuts fall with a rich, heavy thud below, while Susie 
was busily picking up at the foot of the tree. How she 
did flatter me with my success and prowess! Tom Halli- 
day might be a bigger boy, but he could never go up a tree 
as I could ; and aa for that great clumsy Jim Fellows, she 
laughed to think what a figure he would make, going out 
on the end of the small limbs, which would be sure to 
break and send hira bundling down. The picture which 
Soaie drew of the awkwardness of the big boya often made 
uB laugh till the tears rolled down our cheeks. To this 
day I observe it as a weakness of my sex that we all take 
it in extremely good part when the pretty girl of our heart 
laughs at other fellows in a snug, quiet way, just between 
one's dear self and herself alone. We encourage our own 
dear little cat to scratch and claw the sacred memories of 
Jim or Tom, aud think that she does it in an extremely 
cunning and diverting way — it being understood between 
us that there is no malice in it — that "Jim and Tom are 
nice fellows enough, you know — only that somebody else 
LB so BUperioi to them," etc. 



20 



MT WIPE AND I 



Susie and I conaidered ourselTes as an extremely fo] 
handed, well-to-do partnersliip, in the matter of gathering' 
in our autumn stores. Ko pair of ehipmunkB in ths neigh- 
borhood conducted buBineas with more ability. We had 
a famous cellar that I dug and stoned, where we stored 
away our spoils. We had chestnuts and walnuts and but- 
ternuta, as we said, to last us all winter, and many an ear- 
nest consultation and many a busy hour did the gathering 
and arranging of these spoils cost us. 

Then, oh, the golden times we had when father's barrelfl 
of new eider came home from the press ! How I cut and 
gathered and selected buncbea of choice straws, which I 
took to school and showed to Susie, surreptitiously, at in- 
tervals, during school exercises, that she might see what a 
provision of bliss I was making for Saturday afternoons. 
How Susie was sent to visit us on these occasions, in leather 
shoes and checked apron, so that we might go in the cellar ; 
and how, mounted up on logs on either side of a barrel of 
cider, we plunged our straws through the foamy mass at 
the bung-hole, and drew out long draughts of sweet eider I 
I was sure to get myself dirty in my zeal, which she never 
did; and then she would laugh at me and patronize me, 
and wipe me up in a motherly sort of way. "How do 
you always get so dirty, Harry 1 " she would say, in a truly 
maternal tone of reproof. "How do you keep so clean!" 
I would say, in wonder; and she would laugh, and call me 
her dear, dirty boy. She would often laugh at me, the 
little elf, and make herself distractingly merry at my ex- 
pense, but the moment she saw that the blood was getting 
too high in my cheeks she would stroke me down with 
praises, as became a wise young daughter of Eve, 

Besides all this, she had her little airs of moral superior- 
ity, and used occasionally to lecture roe in the nicest man- 
ner. Being an only darling, she herself was brought up 
in the strictest ways in which little feet could goj and tlie 



M 



OUR CHrLD-EDKN 21 

nicety of her conscience was as unsullied as that of her 
dreSB. I was hot-tempered and heady, and under stress of 
great provocation would come as near swearing as a minis- 
ter's eon could possibly do. When the hig boys ravaged 
our house under the tree, or threw sticks at us, I used to 
stretch every permitted limit, and scream, "Darn you!" 
and "Confound you I" with a vigor and emphasis that 
made it almost equal to something a good deal stronger. 

On such occasions Susie would listea pale and frightened, 
and, when reason came back to me, gravely lecture 
and bring me into the paths of virtue. She used to 
hearse to me the teachings of bei mother about all mau 
of good things, I have her image now in my mind, look- 
ing so crisp and composed and neat in her sobriety, repeat- 
ing, for my edification, the hymn which contained the good 
child's ideal in those days; — 



To do the thiDRs I ought, 
Then let me (ry with aU my might 
To mind what 1 am taoght. 

"Whene'er I 'm told, I '11 freely hring 
Whatever 1 have got. 
And nevar (onch B pretty thing, 
When mother teil& me not. 

" If she permita me, I may tell 
About my little toye, 
But if she 'n haay or unirell, 
I mail not miike a noiee." 

I can hear now the delicious lisp of my tittle eaint, and 
see the gracious gravity of her manner. To my mind, she 
was unaccountably well established in the ways of virtue, 
and I listened to her littJe lectures with a secret reverence. 

Susie was especially careful in the observation of Sun- 
day, and as that is a point where children are apt to he 
particulocly weak, she voold ezhoit me to rigoious exacti- 
tude. 



22 MY WIFE AND I 

I kept it, first, by thinking that I should see her at 
church, and by growing very precise about my Sunday 
clothes, whereat my sisters winked at each other and 
laughed slyly. Then at church we sat in great square 
pews adjoining to each other. It was my pleasure to peep 
through the slats at Susie. She was wonderful to behold 
then, aU in white, with a profusion of blue ribbons and her 
little flat hat over her curls — and a pair of dainty blue 
shoes peeping out from her dress. She informed me that 
little girls never must think about their clothes in meeting, 
and so I supposed she was trying to be entirely absorbed 
from earthly vanities, unconscious of the fixed and earnest 
stare with which I followed every movement. 

Human nature is but partially sanctified, however, in 
little saints as well as grown-up ones, and I noticed that 
occasionally, probably by accident, the great blue eyes met 
mine, and a smile, almost amounting to a sinful giggle, 
was with difficulty choked down. She was, however, a 
most conscientious little puss and recovered herself in a 
moment, and looked gravely upward at the minister, not 
one word of whose sermon could she by any possibility un- 
derstand, severely devoting herself to her religious duties, 
till exhausted nature gave way. The little lids would close 
over the eyes like blue pimpernel before a shower, — the 
head would drop and nod, till finally the mother would 
dispense the little Christian from further labors, by laying 
her head on her lap and drawing her feet up comfortably 
upon the seat, to sleep out to the end of the sermon. 

When winter came on I beset my older brother to make 
me a sled. Sleds, such as every boy in Boston or New 
York now rejoices in, were blessings in our parts unknown; 
our sled was of rough, domestic manufacture. 

My brother, laughing, asked if my sled was intended to 
draw Susie on, and on my earnest response in the affirma- 
tive he amused himself with painting it in colors, red and 



OTJH CHILD-EDEN 



2S ' 



blue, most glorious to behold. My soul was magnified 1 
within me when I first started with tliia etylish eatablieh- 
ment to wait on Susie. What young fellow does not exult 
in a. smart team when he has a girl whom he wants to daz- 
zle? Great was my joy and pride when I first stopped at 
Susie's and told her to hurry on her things, for I had come 
to draw her to school I I 

What a pretty picture she made in her little blue knit 
hood and mittens, her bright cxirla flying and cheeks glow- 
ing with the keen winter air! There was a long hill on 
the way to school, and seated on the sled behind her, J 
careered gloriously down with exultation in my breast, 
Tvhile a stream of laughter floated on the breeze behind us. 
That waa a winter of much coasting down hill, of red 
cheeks and red nosea, of cold toes, which we never minded, 
and of abundant jollity, Susie, under her mother's careful 
•howing, knit me a pair of red mittens, warming to the 
heart and delightful to the eyes ; and I piled up wood and 
carried water for mother, and by vigorous economy earned 
money enough to buy Susie a great candy heart as big as 
my two hands, that had the picture of two doves tied to- 
gether by a blue ribbon on one side, and on the other two 
very red hearts skewered together by an arrow. 

No work of art ever gave greater and more unmingled 
delight. Susie gave it a prominent place in her baby- 
house, — and though it was undeniably sweet, as certain 
little nibbling trials on its edges had proved, yet the artis- 
tic sense was stronger than the palate, and the candy heart 
was kept to be looked at and rejoiced in. 

Susie's mother was an intimate and confidential friend 
of my mother, and a most docile and confiding sheep of 
my father's flock. She regarded her minister's family, and 
all that belonged to it, as something set apart and sacred. 
My mother had imparted to her the little joke of my matri- 
monial wishes, and the two matrons had laughed ovei it 



24 MY WIFE AND I 

together, and then sighed, and said, "Ah! well, stranger 
things have happened." Susie's mother told how she used 
to know her husband when he was a little boy, and what 
if it should be ! and then they strayed on to the general 
truth that this was a world of uncertainty, and we never 
can tell what a day may bring forth. 

Our little idyl, too, was rather encouraged by my bro- 
thers and sisters, who made a pet and plaything of Susie, 
and diverted themselves by the gravity and honesty with 
which we devoted ourselves to each other. Oh ! dear igno- 
rant days — sweet little child-Eden — why could it not 
last ? But it could not. It was fleeting as the bobolink's 
song, as the spotted yellow lilies, as the grass and daisies. 
My little Daisy was too dear to the angels to be spared to 
grow up in our coarse world. 

The winter passed and spring came, and Susie and I 
rejoiced in the first bluebird, and found blue and white 
violets together, and went to school together, till the heats 
of summer came on. Then a sad epidemic began to linger 
around in our mountains, and to be heard of in neighbor- 
ing villages, and my poor Daisy was scorched by its breath. 
I remember well our last afternoon together in the meadow, 
where, the year before, we had gathered strawberries. We 
went down into it in high spirits; the strawberries were 
abundant, and we chatted and picked together gayly, till 
Daisy began to complain that her head ached and her throat 
was sore. I set her down by the brook, and wet her curls 
with the water, and told her to rest there, and let me pick 
for her. But pretty soon she called me. She was crying 
with pain. "0 Hazzy, dear, I must go home," she said. 
"Take me to mother." I hurried to help her, for she 
cried and moaned so that I was frightened. I began to 
cry, too, and we came up the steps of her mother's house 
sobbing together. 

When her mother came out the little one suppressed her 



OUB CHILD-EDEN 



25 



tears and distress for a. moment, and turning, threw bei 
arms around my neck and kissed me. " Don't cry any 
more, Haz/y," she said; "we '11 see each other again," 

Her mother took her up in her arms and carried her in, 
and I never saw my little bahy-wife again on this earth! 
Not where the daisies and buttercups grew ; nor where the 
golden lilies shook their belle, and the bobolinks trilled; 
not in the school-room, with its many child- v oices ; not in 
the old square pew in church — never, never more that 
trim little maiden form, those violet-blue eyes, those golden 
curls of hair, were to be seen on earth! 

My Daisy's last kisses, with the fever throbbing in her 
veins, very nearly took me with her. From that time I 
have only indistinct remembrances of going home crying, 
of turning with a strange loathing from my supper, of 
creeping up and getting into bed, shivering and burning, 
with a thumping and beating pain in my head. The next 
morning the family dofior pronounced me a case of the 
epidemic (scarlet fever) which he said was all about among 
children in the neighborhood. 

I have dim, hot, hazy recollections of burning, thirsty, 
headachy days, when I longed for cold water, and could 
not get a drop, according to the good old rules of medical 
practice in thoae timea. I dimly observed different people 
sitting up with me every night, and putting different medi- 
cines in my unresisting mouth; and day crept slowly after 
day, and I lay idly watching the rays of sunlight and flut- 
ter of leaves on the opposite wall. 

One afternoon, I remember, as I lay thuB liatleas, I 
heard the village bell strike slowly — six times. The 
sound wavered and trembled with long and solemn inter- 
vals of shivering vibration between. It was the numbering 
of my Daisy's little years on earth, — the announcement 
that she had gone to the land where time is no more mea- 
flored by day and night, for there shall be no night there. 



26 MY WIFE AND I 

When I was well again I remember my mother told me 
that my little Daisy was in heaven, and I heard it with a 
dull, cold chill about my heart, and wondered that I could 
not cry. I look back now into my little heart as it was 
then, and remember the paroxysms of silent pain I used 
to have at times, deep within, while yet I seemed to be 
like any other boy. 

I heard my sisters one day discussing whether I cared 
much for Daisy's death. 

"He don't seem to, much,'' said one. 

" Oh, children are little animals, they forget what *8 out 
of sight," said another. 

But I did not forget, — I could not bear to go to the 
meadow where we gathered strawberries, — to the chestnut- 
trees where we had gathered nuts, — and oftentimes, sud- 
denly, in work or play, that smothering sense of a past, 
forever gone, came over me like a physical sickness. 

When children grow up among older people and are 
pushed and jostled, and set aside in the more engrossing 
interests of their elders, there is an almost incredible 
amount of timidity and dumbness of nature, with regard to 
the expression of inward feeling, — and yet, often at this 
time the instinctive sense of pleasure and pain is fearfully 
acute. But the child has imperfectly learned language. 
His stock of words, as yet, consists only in names and 
attributes of outward and physical objects, and he has no 
phraseology with which to embody a mere emotional expe- 
rience. 

What I felt when I thought of my little playfellow was 
a dizzying, choking rush of bitter pain and anguish. Chil- 
dren can feel as acutely as men and women, — but even in 
mature life experience has no gift of expression. 

My mother alone, with the divining power of mothers, 
kept an eye on me. " Who knows, " she said to my father, 
^'but this death may be a heavenly call to him." 



OUR cmLD-EDEN 



27 



She sat down gently by my bed one night and talked 
with me of heaven, and the brightness and beauty there, 
and told me that little Susie was now a fair white angel. 

I remember shaking with a tempest of sobs. 

"But I want hei here," I said. "I want to eee her." 

My mother went over all the explanations in the pre- 
mises, — all that can ever be said in such cases, but I only 
sobbed the more. 

"I can't see her ! mother, motherl" 

That night I sobbed myself to sleep and dreamed a 
blessed dream. 

It seemed to me that I was a^aio in our meadow, and 
that it was fairer than ever before; the sun shone gayly, 
the sky was blue, and our great, golden lily stocks seemed 
mysteriously bright and fair, but I was wandering lonesome 
and solitary. Then suddenly my little Daisy came running 
to meet me in her pink dress and white apron, with her 
golden curls hanging down her neck. " Daisy, Daisy ! " 
said I, running up to her. "Are you alive? — they told 
me that you were dead." 

"No, Hazzy, dear, I am not dead, — never you believe 
that," she said, and I felt the clasp of her little arms round 
my neck. "Didn't I tell you we 'd see each other again) " 

"But they told me you were dead," I said in wonder — 
and I thought I held her off and looked at her, — she 
laughed gently at me as she often used to, but her lovely 
eyes had a mysterious power that seemed to thrill all 
through me. 

"I am not dead, dear Hazzy," she said. "We never 
die where I am^ — I shall love you always," and with that 
my dream wavered and grew misty as when clear water 
breaks an image into a thousand glassy rings and fragments. 
I thought I heard lovely music, and felt soft, clasping 
arms, and I awoke with a sense of being loved and pitied, 
and comforted. 



28 MY WIFE AND I 

I cannot describe the vivid, penetrating sense of reality 
which this dream left behind it. It seemed to warm my 
whole life, and to give back to my poor little heart some- 
thing that had been rudely torn away from it. Perhaps 
there is no reader that has not had experiences of the won- 
derful power which a dream often exercises over the wak- 
ing hours for weeks after — and it will not appear incredi- 
ble that after that, instead of shunning the meadow where 
we used to play, it was my delight to wander there alone, 
to gather the strawberries — tend the birds' nests, and lie 
down on my back in the grass and look up into the blue 
sky through an overarching roof of daisies, with a strange 
sort of feeling of society, as if my little Daisy were with 
me. 

And is it not perhaps sol Bight alongside of this 
troublous life, that is seen and temporal, may lie the green 
pastures and the still waters of the unseen and eternal, and 
they who know us better than we know them can at any 
time step across that little rill that we call Death, to min- 
ister to our comfort. 

For what are these child-angels made, that are sent 
down to this world to bring so much love and rapture, and 
go from us in such bitterness and mourning 1 If we be- 
lieve in Almighty Love we must believe that they have a 
merciful and tender mission to our wayward souls. The 
love wherewith we love them is something the most ut- 
terly pure and unworldly of which human experience is 
capable, and we must hope that every one who goes from 
us to the world of light goes holding an invisible chain of 
love by which to draw us there. 

Sometimes I think I would never have had my little 
Daisy grow older on our earth. The little child dies in 
growing into womanhood, and often the woman is far less 
lovely than the little child. It seems to me that lovely 
and loving childhood| with its truthfulness, its frank sin* 



OUB CHILD-EDEN 29 

cerity, its pure, simple love, is so sweet and holy an estate 
that it would be a beautiful thing in heaven to have a 
band of heavenly children, guileless, gay and forever joy- 
ous — tender spring blossoms of the Kingdom of Light. 
Was it of such whom he had left in liis heavenly home 
our Saviour was thinking, when he took little children up 
in his arms and blessed them, and said, " Of such is the 
Kingdom of Heaven ? '' 



CHAPTER m 

MY SHADOW-WIFE 

My Shadow- Wife ! Is there then substance in shadow? 
Yea, there may be. A shadow — a spiritual presence — 
may go with us where mortal footsteps cannot go: walk by 
our side amid the roar of the city ; talk with us amid the 
sharp clatter of voices; come to us through closed door, as 
we sit alone over our evening fire; counsel, bless, inspire 
us ; and though the figure cannot be clasped in mortal arms 
— though the face be veiled — yet this wife of the future 
may have a power to bless, to guide, to sustain and con- 
sole. Such was the dream-wife of my youth. Whence 
did she come ? She rose like a white, pure mist from that 
little grave. She formed herself like a cloud-maiden from 
the rain and dew of those first tears. 

When we look at the apparent recklessness with which 
great sorrows seem to be distributed among the children of 
the earth, there is no way to keep our faith in a Fatherly 
love, except to recognize how invariably the sorrows that 
spring from love are a means of enlarging and dignifying 
a human being. [Nothing great or good comes without 
birth-pangs, and in just the proportion that natures grow 
more noble, their capacities of suffering increase. 

The bitter, silent, irrepressible anguish of that childish 
bereavement was to me the awakening of a spiritual nature. 
The little creature who, had she lived, might have grown 
up perhaps into a commonplace woman, became a fixed 
star in the heaven land of the ideal, always drawing me to 
look upward. My memories of her were a spring of re- 



MY SHADOW-Wm: 



31 



fined and tender feeling, through all my early life. I 
could not then write; but I remember that the overflow of 
my heart towards her memory required expTeasion, and I 
taught myself a strange kind of manuecript, by copying the 
letters of the alphabet. I bought six cents' worth of 
paper and a tallow candle at the store, which I used to 
light surreptitiously when I had been put to bed nights, 
and, sitting up in ray little nighl-gown, I busied myself 
with writing my remembrances of her, I could not, for 
the world, have asked my mother to let me have a candle 
in my bed-room after eight o'clock. I would have died 
sooner than to explain why I wanted it. My purchase of 
paper and candle was my first act of independent maulinesB. 
The money, I reflected, was mine, because I earned it 
myself, and the paper was mine, and the candle was mine, 
so that I was not using my father's property in an. unwar- 
rantable manner, and thus I gave myself up to my inspira- 
tions. I wrote my remembrances of her, as she stood 
among the daisies and the golden lilies. I wrote down her 
little words of wisdom and grave advice, in the queerest 
manuscript that ever puzzled a wise man of the East. If 
one imagines that all this was spelled phonetically, and not 
at all in the unspeakable and aBtonishing way in which the 
English language is conventionally spelled, one may truly 
imagine that it was something rather peculiar in the way 
of literature. But the heart- comfort, the utter abandon- 
ment of soul that went into it, is something that only 
those can imagine who have tried the like and found the 
relief of it. My little heart was like the Caspian Sea, or 
Bome other sea which I read about, which had found a 
secret channel by which its waters could pass off under 
ground, Wlien I bad finished, every evening, I used to 
extinguish my candle, and put it and my manuscripts in- 
side of the straw bed on which I slept, which had a long 
pocket hole in the centrcj secured by buttons, for the poi- 



82 BfT WIFE AND I 

pose of stirring the straw. Over this I slept in conscious 
secTirity, every night; sometimes with hlissful dreams of 
going to hrighter meadows, when I saw my Daisy playing 
with whole troops of heautiful children, fair as water lilies 
on the shore of a hlue lake. Thus, while I seemed to be 
like any other boy, thinking of nothing but my sled, and 
my bat and ball, and my mittens, I began to have a little 
withdrawing room of my own; another land in which I 
could walk and take a kind of delight that nothing visible 
gave me. But one day my oldest sister, in making the 
bed, with domestic thoroughness, disemboweled my whole 
store of manuscripts and the half-consumed fragment of 
my candle. 

There is no poetry in housewifery, and my sister at once 
took a housewifely view of the proceeding. " Well, now ! 
is there any end to the conjurations of boys 1 '^ she said. 
" He might have set the house on fire and burned us all 
alive, in our beds ! " 

Keader, this is quite possible, as I used to perform my 
literary labors sitting up in bed, with the candle standing 
on a narrow ledge on the side of the bedstead. 

Forthwith the whole of my performance was lodged in 
my mother's hands — I was luckily at school. 

"Now, girls," said my mother, "keep quiet about this; 
above all, don't say a word to the boy. I will speak to 
him." 

Accordingly, that night after I had gone up to bed, my 
mother came into my room, and when she had seen me in 
bed she sat down by me and told me the whole discovery. 
I hid my head under the bedclothes, and felt a sort of 
burning shame and mortification that was inexpressible; 
but she had a good store of that mother's wit and wisdom 
by which I was to be comforted. At last she succeeded in 
drawing both the bedclothes from my face and the veil 
from my heart, and I told her all my little story. 



MY SHADOW-TTIFB S3 

"Dear boy," she eaid, "you must learn to write, and 
you need not buy candleH, you shall ait by me evenings 
and I will teach you ; it was very nice of you to practice 
all alone ; but it will be a great deal easier to let me teach 
yon the writing letters." 

How I had begun the usual course of writing copies in 
school. In those days it was deemed necessary to com- 
mence by teaching what was called coarse hand ; and I 
had filled many dreary pages with m's and n's of a gigantic 
size; but it never haii yet occurred to me that the writing 
of these copies was to hear any sort of relation to the ex- 
pression of thought and emotions within me that were 
clamoring for a vent, while my rude copies of printed let- 
ters did bear to my mind this adaptation. But now my 
mother made me sit by her evenings, with a slate and pen- 
cil, and, under her care, I made a cross-cut into the fields 
of practical handwriting, and was also saved the dangers of 
going off into a morbid habit of feeling, which might easily 
have arisen from my solitary reveries. 

"Dear," she said to my father, "I told you this one was 
to be our brightest. He will make a writer yet," and she 
showed him my manuscript. 

"You must look after hira, mother," said my father, as 
he always said, when there arose any exigency about the 
children that required delicate handling. 

My mother was one of that class of women whose power 
on earth seems to be only the greater for being a spiritual 
and invisible one. The control of such women over men 
is like that of the soul over the body. The body is visi- 
ble, forceful, obtrusive, self- asserting. The soul inviaihle, 
sensitive, yet with a subtle and vital power which con- 
stantly gains control and holds every inch that it gains. 

My father was naturally impetuous, though magnani- 
mous, hasty-tempered and imperious, thouj,'b conscientious; 
my mother united the most exquisite seneihility with the 



84 MY WIFE AND I 

deepest calm — calm resulting from habitual communion 
with the highest and purest source of all rest — the peace 
that passeth all understanding. Gradually, by this spirit- 
ual force, this quietude of soul, she became his leader and 
guide. He held her hand and looked up to her with an 
implicit trustfulness that increased with every year. 

"Where *s your mother?" was always the fond inquiry 
when he entered the house, after having been off on one 
of his long preaching tours or clerical councils. At aU 
hours he would burst from his study with fragments of the 
sermon or letter he was writing, to read to her and receive 
her suggestions and criticisms. With her he discussed the 
plans of his discourses, and at her dictation changed, im- 
proved, altered, and added ; and under the brooding influ- 
ence of her mind, new and finer traits of tenderness and 
spirituality pervaded his character and his teachings. In 
fact, my father once said to me, "She made me by her 
influence. " 

In these days, we sometimes hear women, who have 
reared large families on small means, spoken of as victims 
who had sufl'ered unheard - of oppressions. There is a 
growing materialism that refuses to believe that there can 
be happiness without the ease and facilities and luxuries of 
wealth. But my father and mother, though living on a 
narrow income, were never really poor. The chief evil of 
poverty is the crushing of ideality out of life — the taking 
away its poetry and substituting hard prose — and this 
with them was impossible. My father loved the work he 
did, as the artist loves his painting and the sculptor his 
chisel. A man needs less money when he is doing only 
what he loves to do — what, in fact, he must do, — pay or 
no pay. St. Paul said, "A necessity is laid upon me, yea, 
woe is me, if I preach not the gospel." Preaching the 
gospel was his irrepressible instinct, a necessity of his 
being. My mother, from her deep spiritual nature, was 



MY BHADOW-WI?E 



35 



one soiJ with my father in his life-work. With the moral 
organisation of a propheteES, ehe stood nearer to heaven 
than he, and looking in, told him what she saw, and he, 
holding her hand, felt the thrill of celestial electricity. 
With ench women, life has no prose; their eyes see all 
things in the tight of heaven, and flowers of paradise spring 
up in paths that, to unanointed eyes, seem, only paths of 
toil. I never felt, from anything I saw at home, from any 
word or action of my mother's, that we were poor, in the 
sense that poverty was an eviL I was reminded, to be 
sure, that we were poor in a sense that required constant 
carefulness, watchfulness over little things, energetic hah- • 
its, and vigorous industry and self-helpfulneas. But wo 
were never poor in any sense that restricted hospitality or 
made it a hurden. In those days, a minister's house was 
always the home for all the ministers and their families, 
whenever an exigency required of them to travel, and the 
spare room of our house never wanted guests of longer or 
shorter continuance. But the atmosphere of the house was 
such as always made guests welcome. Three or four times 
a year, the annual clerical gatheriogs of the church filled 
our house to overflowing, and necessitated an abundant pro- 
vision and great activity of preparation on the part of the 
women of our family. Yet I never heard an expression of 
impatience or a suggestion that made me suppose they felt 
themselves unduly burdened. My mother's cheerful face 
was a welcome and a benediction at all times, and guests 
found it good to be with her. 

In the midst of our large family, of different ages, of 
vigorous growth, of great individuality and forcefulness of 
expression, my mother's was the administrative power. 
My father habitually referred everything to her, and leaned 
on her advice with a childlike dependence. She read the 
character of each, she mediated between opposing natures; 
she translated the dialect of different sorts of spirits, to 



36 MY WIFE AND I 

each other. In a family of young children, there is a 
chance for every sort and variety of natures; and for na- 
tures whose modes of feeling are as foreign to each other 
as those of the French and the English. It needs a com- 
mon interpreter, who understands every dialect of the soul, 
thus to translate differences of individuality into a common 
language of love. 

It has often seemed to me a fair question, on a review 
of the way my mother ruled in our family, whether the 
politics of the ideal state in a millennial community should 
not be one equally pervaded by mother-influences. The 
woman question of our day, as I understand it, is this: 
Shall MOTHERHOOD cver be felt in the public administra- 
tion of the affairs of state ? The state is nothing more nor 
less than a collection of families, and what would be good 
or bad for the individual family would be good or bad for 
the state. 

Such as our family would have been, ruled only by my 
father, without my mother, such the political state is, and 
has been; there have been in it "conscript fathers," but 
no "conscript mothers;'' yet is not a mother's influence 
needed in acts that relate to the interests of collected fami- 
lies as much as in individual ones ? 

The state, at this very day, needs an influence like what 
I remember our mother's to have been, in our great, vigor- 
ous, growing family, — an influence quiet, calm, warming, 
purifying, uniting — it needs a womanly economy and 
thrift in husbanding and applying its material resources — 
it needs a divining power, by which different sections and 
different races can be interpreted to each other, and blended 
together in love — it needs an educating power, by which 
its immature children may be trained in virtue — it needs 
a loving and redeeming power, by which its erring and 
criminal children may be borne with, purified, and led back 
to virtue. 



MY BHADOW-WITE 87 

Yet, while I thus muse, I remember that such women 
Bs my mother are those to whom in aa especial manner all 
noise and publicity and unreatful conflict are peculiarly 
distasteful. My mother had that delicacy of fibre that 
made any kind of public exercise of her powers an impos- 
eibility. It is not peculiarly a feminine characteristic, but 
belongs equally to many men of the finest natures. It is 
characteristic of the poets and philosophers of life. It is 
aBcribed by the sacred writers to Jesus of Nazareth, in 
whom an aversion for publicity and a longing for stillness 
and retirement are specially indicated by many touching 
incidents. Jeaua preferred to focm around him a family 
of disciples and to act on the world through them, and it 
is remarkable that he left uo writings directly addressed to 
the world by himself, but only by those whom he inspired. 

Women of this brooding, quiet, deeply spiritual nature, 
while they cannot attend caucuses, or pull political wires, 
or mingle in the strife of political life, are yet the most 
needed force to be for the good of the State. I am per- 
suaded that it is not till this class of wo'menfeel as vital 
and personal respotisibility for the good of the State as 
they have hitherto felt far that of the family, that we 
shall gain the final elements of a perfect society. The 
laws of Rome, so said the graceful myth, were dictated to 
Numa PompiliuB by the nymph Egeria. No mortal eye 
saw her. She was not in the forum, or the senate. She 
did not strive, nor cry, nor lift up her voice in the street, 
but she made the laws by which Rome ruled the world. 
Let us hope in a coming day that not Egeria, but Mary, 
the mother of Jesus, the great archetype of the Christian 
motherhood, shall be felt through all the laws and institu- 
tions of society. That Mary, who kept all things and pon- 
dered them in her heart — the silent poet, the prophetess, 
the one confidential friend of Jesus, sweet and retired ae 
evening dew, yet strong to go forth with Christ against the 



88 MY WIFE AND I 

cruel and vulgar mob, and to stand unfainting by the cross 
where He suffered! 

From the time that my mother discovered my store of 
manuscripts she came into new and more intimate relation 
with me. She took me from the district school, and kept 
me constantly with herself, teaching me in the intervals 
of domestic avocations. I was what is called a mother's- 
boy, as she taught me to render her all sorts of household 
services, such as are usually performed by girls. My two 
older sisters, about this time, left us, to establish a semi- 
nary in the neighborhood, and the sister nearest my age 
went to study under their care, so that my mother said, 
playfully, she had no resource but to make a girl of me. 
This association with a womanly nature, and this discipline 
in womanly ways, I hold to have been an invaluable part 
of my early training. There is no earthly reason which 
requires a man, in order to be manly, to be unhandy and 
clumsy in regard to the minutisB of domestic life; and 
there are quantities of occasions occurring in the life of 
every man, in which he will have occasion to be grateful 
to his mother, if, like mine, she trains him in woman's 
arts and the secrets of making domestic life agreeable. 

But it is not merely in this respect that I felt the value 
of my early companionship with my. mother. The power 
of such women over our sex is essentially the service ren- 
dered us in forming our ideal, and it was by my mother's 
influence that the ideal guardian, the "shadow-wife,'' was 
formed, that guided me through my youth. She wisely 
laid hold of the little idyl of my childhood, as something 
which gave her the key to my nature, and opened before 
me the hope in my manhood of such a friend as my little 
Daisy had been to my childhood. This wife of the future 
she often spoke of as a motive. I was to make myself 
worthy of her. For her sake I was to be strong, to be 
efficient, to be manly and true, and above all pure in 
thought and imagination and in word. 



KV SHADOW-WIFB 



39 



The cold mountain air and simple habita of New Eng- 
land country life are largely a preventive of open immoral- 
ity; but there is another temptation which beaeta the hoy, 
against which the womanly ideal is the beat shield — the 
temptation to vulgarity and obscenity. 

It was to my mother's care and teaching I owe it, that 
there always seemed to be a lady at my elbow, when stories 
were told such as a pure woman would blush to hear. It 
was owing to her that a great deal of what T supposed to 
be classical literature both in Greek and Latin and in Eng- 
lish was to me and is to me to this day simply repulsive 
and disgusting. I remember that one time when I was in 
my twelfth or thirteenth year, one of Satan's agent« put 
into my hand one of those stories that are written with an 
express purpose of demoralizing the young — stories that 
are sent creeping like vi^wrs and rattlesnakes stealthily and 
secretly among inexperienced and unguarded boys, hiding 
in secret corners, gliding under their pillows, and filling 
their veins with the fever poison of impurity. How many 
boys in the most critical period of life are forever ruined, 
in body and soul, by the silent secret gliding among them 
of these nests of impure serpents, unless they have a mo- 
ther, wise, watchful, and never sleeping, with whom they 
are in habits of unreserved intimacy and communion ! 

I remember that when my mother took from me this 
book, it was with an expression of fear and horror which 
made a deep impression on me. Then she sat by me that 
night, when the shadows were deepening, and told me how 
the reading of such books, or the letting of such ideas into 
my mind, would make me unworthy of the wife she hoped 
some day I would win. With a voice of solemn awe she 
spoke of the holy mystery of marriage as something so 
BBcred, that all my life's happiness depended on keeping it 
pure, and surrounding it only with the holiest thoughtB. 

It was more the thrill of her sympathies, the noble 



40 BfY WIFE AND I 

poetry of her nature inspiring mine, than anything she 
said, that acted upon me and stimulated me to keep my 
mind and memory pure. In the closeness of my commun- 
ion with her I seemed to see through her eyes and feel 
through her nerves, so that at last a passage in a hook or 
a sentiment uttered always suggested the idea of what she 
would think of it. 

In our days we have heard much said of the importance 
of training women to be wives. Is there not something 
to be said on the importance of training men to be hus- 
bands? Is the wide latitude of thought and reading and 
expression which has been accorded as a matter of course 
to the boy and the young man, tlie conventionally allowed 
familiarity with coarseness and indelicacy, a fair prepara- 
tion to enable him to be the intimate companion of a pure 
woman ? For how many ages has it been the doctrine that 
man and woman were to meet in marriage, the one crystal- 
pure, the other foul with the permitted garbage of all sorts 
of uncleansed literature and license ? If the man is to be 
the head of the woman, even as Christ is the head of the 
Church, should he not be her equal, at least, in purity 1 

My shadow-wife grew up by my side under my mother's 
creative touch. It was for her I studied, for her I should 
toil. The thought of providing for her took the sordid 
element out of economy and made it unselfish. She was 
to be to me adviser, friend, inspirer, charmer. She was 
to be my companion, not alone in one faculty, but through 
all the range of my being — there should be nothing 
wherein she and I could not by appreciative sympathy 
commune together. As I thought of her, she seemed 
higher than I. I must love up and not down, I said. 
She must stand on a height and I must climb to her — she 
must be a princess worthy of many toils and many labors. 
Gradually she became to me a controlling power. 

The thought of what she would think closed for me 



MY SHADOW-WIFE 41 

many a book that I felt she and I could not read together 
— her fair image barred the way to many a door and 
avenue, which if a young man enters, he must leave his 
good angel behind, — for her sake I abjured intimacies that 
I felt she could not approve, and it was my ambition to 
keep the inner temple of my heart and thoughts so pure 
that ic might be a worthy resting-place for her at last. 



CHAPTER IV 

I START FOB COLLEGE AND MY UNCLE JACOB 

ADVISES ME 

The time came at last when the sacred habit of intimacy 
with my mother was broken, and I was to leave her for 
college. It was the more painful to her, as only a year 
before, my father had died, leaving her more than ever 
dependent on the society of her children. 

My father died as he had lived, rejoicing in his work 
and feeling that if he had a hundred lives to live, he would 
devote them to the same object for which he had spent 
that one — the preaching of the gospel. He left to my 
mother the homestead and a small farm, which was under 
the care of one of my brothers, so that the event of his 
death made no change in our family home centre, and I 
was to go to college and fulfill the hope of his heart and 
the desire of my mother's life, in consecrating myself to 
the work of the Christian ministry. 

My father and mother had always kept sacredly a little 
fund laid by for the education of their children; it was the 
result of many small savings and self-denials — but self- 
denials so cheerfully and hopefully encountered that they 
had almost changed their nature and become preferences. 
The family fund for this purpose had been used in turn by 
two of my older brothers, who, as soon as they gained an 
independent foothold in life, appropriated each his first 
earnings to replacing this sum for the use of the next. It 
was not, however, a fund large enough to dispense with 
the need of a strict economy, and a supplemental self-help- 
fulness on our part. 



[ StABT FOB COLLEGE 



43 



The terma in some of our Kew England colleges are 
thoughtfully arranged so that the students can teach for 
three of the whiter months, and the resources thus gained 
help out their college expenses. Thus at the same time 
they educate themselves and help to educate others, and 
they study with the maturity of mind aud the appreciation 
of the value of what they are gaining, resulting from a 
hahit of measuring themselves with the actual needs of 
Ufa. 

The time when the boy goes to college is the time when 
he feels manhood to begin. He is no longer a boy, but an 
imfledged, undeveloped man — a creature, half of the past 
and half of the future. Yet every one gives him a good 
word or a congratulatory shake of the hand on his entrance 
to this new plateau of life. It is a time when advice is 
plenty as blackberries in August, and often held quite as 
cheap — but nevertheless a young fellow may as well look 
at what his elders tell him at this time, and see what he 
can make of it. 

Aa I was "our minister's son," all the village thought 
it had something to do with my going. " Hallo, Harry, 
so you 've got into college I Think you 'II be as smart a man 
as your dad ? " said one. " Wa-al, so I bear you 're going 
to college. Stick to it now. I could 'a' made sutbin' ef 
I 'd 'a' had larnin' at your age," said old Jerry Smith, who 
rung the meeting-bouse bell, sawed wood, and took care of 
miscellaneous gardens for sundry widows in the vicinity. 

But the sayings that struck me as most to the purpose 
came from my Uncle Jacob. 

Uncle Jacob was my mother's brother, and the doctor 
not only of our village, hiit of aU the neighborhood for ten 
miles round. He was a man celebrated for medical know- 
ledge through the State, and known by his articles in medi- 
cal journals far beyond. He might have easily commanded 
a wider and more lucrative sphere of practice by going to 



44 MY WIFE AND I 

any of the large towns and cities, but Uncle Jacob was a 
philosopher and preferred to live in a small quiet way in 
a place whose scenery suited him, and where he could act 
precisely as he felt disposed, and carry out all his little 
humors and pet ideas without rubbing against convention- 
alities. 

He had a secret adoration for my mother, whom he re- 
garded as the top and crown of all womanhood, and he also 
enjoyed the society of my father, using him as a sort of 
whetstone to sharpen his wits on. Uncle Jacob was a 
church member in good standing, but in the matter of belief 
he was somewhat like a high-mettled horse in a pasture, — 
he enjoyed once in a while having a free argumentative 
race with my father all round the theological lot. Away 
he would go in full career, dodging definitions, doubling 
and turning with elastic dexterity, and sometimes ended by 
leaping over all the fences, with most astounding assertions, 
after which he would calm down, and gradually suffer the 
theological saddle and bridle to be put on him and go on 
with edifying paces, apparently much refreshed by his 
metaphysical capers. 

Uncle Jacob was reported to have a wonderful skill in 
the healing craft. He compounded certain pills which 
were stated to have most wonderful effects. He was accus- 
tomed to exact that, in order fully to develop their medical 
properties, they should be taken after a daily bath, and be 
followed immediately by a brisk walk of a specific duration 
in the open air. The steady use of these pills had been 
known to make wonderful changes in the cases of confirmed 
invalids, a fact which Uncle Jacob used to notice with a 
peculiar twinkle in the corner of his eye. It was some- 
times whispered that the composition of them was neither 
more nor less than simple white sugar with a flavor of 
some harmless essence, but upon this subject my Uncle 
Jacob was impenetrable. He used to say, with the afore- 



I 9TART FOB COLLEGE 



45 



mentioned waggish twinkle, that theii preparation waa his 
aeciet. 

Uncle <T^ob had always bad a Bpecial favoT for me, 
ahawD after his own odd and original manner. He would 
take me in his chaise with him when driving about his 
buaineas, and keep mj mind on a perpetual stretch with 
hia odd questions and droll, suggestive remarks or stories. 
There was a shrewd keen quahty to all that be said, that 
stimulated like a mental tonic, and none the less so for a 
stinging flavor of sarcasm and cynicism, that stirred up and 
provoked one's Belf-esteem, Yet as Uncle Jacob was com- 
panionable and loved a listener, T think he was none the 
less agreeable to me for this slight touch of hia clawa. 
One likes to find power of any kind — and he who showa 
that he can both scratch and bite effectively, if he holds 
his talons in sheath, conies in time to be regarded as a sort 
of benefactor for Lis forbearance : and so, though I got 
many a shrewd mental nip and gripe from my Uncle Jacob, 
I gave on the whole more heed to his opinion than that of 
anybody else that I knew. 

From the time that I had been detected with my self- 
invented manuscript, up to the period of my going to col- 
lege, the expression of my thoughts by writing had always 
been a passion with me, and from year to year my mind 
had been busy with its own creations, which it was a solace 
and amusement for me to record. Of course there waa 
ever so much crabbed manuscript, and no less confused, 
immature thought. I wrote poems, essays, stories, tr^e- 
dies, and comedies. I demonstrated the immortality of 
the soul. I sustained the future immortality of the souls 
of animals. I wrote sonneta ami odes, in whole or in part, 
on almost everything that could be mentioned in creation. 

My mother advised me to make Uncle Jacob my literary 
mentor, and the best of my productions were laid undei 
bis eye. 



46 MY WIFE AND I 

" Poor trash ! " he was wont to say, with his usual 
kindly twinkle. "But there must be poor trash in the 
beginning. We must all eat our peck of dirt, and leam 
to write sense by writing nonsense." Then he would pick 
out here and there a line or expression which he assured 
me was "not bad.^' Now and then he condescended to 
tell me that for a boy of my age, so and so was actually 
hopeful, and that I should make something one of these 
days, which was to me more encouragement than much 
more decided praise from any other quarter. 

We all notice that he who is reluctant to praise, whose 
commendation is scarce and hard-earned, is he for whose 
good word everybody is fighting; he comes at last to be 
the judge in the race. After all, the fact which Uncle 
Jacob could not disguise, that he had a certain good opin- 
ion of me, in spite of his sharp criticisms and scant praises, 
made him the one whose dicta on every subject were the 
most important to me. 

I went to him in all the glow of satisfaction and the 
tremble of self-importance that a boy feels who is taking 
the first step into the land of manhood. 

I have the image of him now, as he stood with his back 
to the fire, and the newspaper in his hand, giving me his 
last counsels. A little wiry, keen-looking man, with a 
blue, hawk-like eye, a hooked nose, a high forehead, sha- 
dowed with grizzled hair, and a crisscross of deeply lined 
wrinkles in his face. 

"So you are going to college, boy! Well, away with 
you ; there 's no use advising you ; you '11 do as all the 
rest do. In one year you '11 know more than your father, 
your mother, or I, or all your college officers — in fact, 
than the Lord himself. You '11 have doubts about the 
Bible, and think you could have made a better one. 
You '11 think that if the Lord had consulted you he could 
have laid the foundations of the earth better, and arranged 



I STABT FOR COLLEGE 47 

the course of nature to more purpose. In short, you '11 be 
a god, knowing good and evil, and running all over crea- 
tion measuring everybody and everything in your pint cup. 
There '11 be no living with jou. But you '11 get over it, 
— it 'e only the febrile stage of knowledge. But if you 
have a good constitution, you 'II come through with it." 

I humbly suggested to him that I ahonld try to keep 
clear of the febrile stage ; that forewarned was forearmed. 

"Oh, tutl tut! you must go through your fooleries. 
These are the regular diseases, the chicken-pox, measles, 
and mumps of young manhood; you '11 have them all. We 
only pray that you may have them light, and not break 
your constitution for all your life through, by them. Por 
instance, you'll fall in love with some baby-faced young 
thing, with pink cheeks and long eyelashes, and goodness 
only knows what aboiuinations of sonnets you '11 be guilty 
of. That isn't fatal, however. Only don't get engaged. 
Take it as the chicken-pox — keep your pores open, and 
don't get cold, and it'll pass ofT and leave you none the 

"And she!" said I indignantly. "You talk as if it 
was no matter what became of her " — 

"What, the bahy! Oh, she'll outgrow it, too. The 
fact is, soberly and seriously, Harry, marriage is the thing 
that makes or mars a man; it 's the gate through which he 
goes up or down, and you shouldn't pledge yourself to it 
till you come to your full senses. Look at your mother, 
boy; see what a woman may bo; see what she was to your 
father, what she is to me, to you, to every one that knows 

r. Such a woman, to apeak reverently, is a pearl of 
great price ; a man might well seD all he had to buy her. 
But it isn't that kind of woman that flirts with college 
boys. You don't pick up such pearls every day." 

Of course I declared that nothing was further from my 
thoughts than anything of that nature. 



48 MY WIFE AND I 

"The fact is, Harry, you can't afford fooleries," said my 
uncle. "You have your own way to make, and nothing 
to make it with but your own head and hands, and you 
must begin now to count the cost of everything. You 
have a healthy, sound body; see that you take care of it. 
God gives you a body but once. He don't take care of it 
for you, and whatever of it you lose, you lose for good. 
Many a chap goes into college fresh as you are, and comes 
out with weak eyes and crooked back, yellow complexion 
and dyspeptic stomach. He has only himself to thank for 
it. When you get to college they '11 want you to smoke, 
and you '11 want to, just for idleness and good fellowship. 
Now, before you begin, just calculate what it '11 cost you. 
You can't get a good cigar under ten cents, and your 
smoker wants three a day, at the least. There go thirty 
cents a day, two dollars and ten cents a week, or a hundred 
and nine dollars and twenty cents a year. Take the next 
ten years at that rate, and you can invest over a thousand 
dollars in tobacco smoke. That thousand dollars, invested 
in a savings bank, would give a permanent income of sixty 
dollars a year, — a handy thing, as you '11 find, just as you 
are beginning life. Now, I know you think all this is 
prosy; you are amazingly given to figures of rhetoric, but, 
after all, you 've got to get on in a world where things go 
by the rules of arithmetic." 

"Well, uncle," I said, a little nettled, "I pledge you 
my word that I won't smoke or drink. I never have done 
either, and I don't know why I should." 

"Good for you! your hand on that, my boy. You 
don't need either tobacco or spirits any more than you 
need water in your shoes. There 's no danger in doing 
without them, and great danger in doing with them; so 
let 's look on that as settled. 

"Now, as to the rest. You have a faculty for stringing 
words together, and a hankering after it^ that may make at 



I 8TABT FOB OOLLlSGli 



49 



Bpoil you. Many a fellow comes to naught because he can 
string pretty phrases and turn a good line of poetry. He 
gets the notion that he 's to be a poet, oi orator, or genius 
of some sort, and neglects study. Now, Harry, remember 
that an empty bag can't stand upright; and that if you are 
ever to be a writer you must have somethiug to say, and 
that you 've got to dig for knowledge as for hidden trea- 
sure. A genius /or hard work is the best kind of genius. 
Look at great writers, and see liow many had it. What 
a student Miltoa was, and G-oethe! Great fellows, those! 
— like trees that grow out in a pasture lot, with branches 
all round. Composition is the flowering out of a man's 
mind. When he has made growth, all studies and all 
learning, all that makes woody fibre, go into it. Now, 
study books ; observe nature ; practice. If you make a 
good firm mental growth, I hope to see some blossoms and 
fruits from it one of these days. So go your ways, and 
God bless you ! " 

The last words were said as Uncle Jacob slipped into 
my hand an envelope, containing a sum of money. 
"You'll need it," he said, "to furnish your room; and 
harkee! if you get into any troubles that you don't want 
to burden your mother with, come to me." 

There was warmth in the grip with which these last 
words were said, and a sort of misty moisture came over 
his keen blue eye, — little signs which meant as raunh 
from his shrewd and retie«nt nature as a caress or an ex- 
pression of tendemesB might from another. 

My mother's last woriia, after hours of talk over the 
evening fire, were these; "I want you to be a good man. 
A great many have tried to be great men, and failed ; but 
nobody ever sincerely tried to be a good man, and failed." 

I suppose it is about the happiest era in a young fellow's 
life when he goes to college for the first time. The future 
is all a land of bine distant mists and sbadowe, radiant as 



50 B£Y WIFE AND I 

an Italian landscape. The boundaries between the possible 
and the not possible are so charmingly vague! There is 
a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow forever waiting for 
each newcomer. Generations have not exhausted it! 

Balzac said, of writing his novels, that the dreaming out 
of them was altogether the best of it. "To imagine,'' he 
said, " is to smoke enchanted cigarettes ; to bring out one's 
imaginations into words, — that is work ! " The same 
may be said of the romance of one's life. The dream-life 
is beautiful, but the rendering into reality quite another 
thing. 

I believe every boy who has a good father and mother 
goes to college meaning, in a general way, to be a good 
fellow. He will not disappoint them. No! a thousand 
times, no ! In the main, he will be a good boy, — not 
that he is going quite to walk according to the counsels of 
his elders. He is not going to fall over any precipices-— 
not he — but he is going to walk warily and advisedly 
along the edge of them, and take a dispassionate survey of 
the prospect, and gather a few botanical specimens here 
and there. It might be dangerous for a less steady head 
than his; but he understands himself, and with regard to 
all things he says, " We shall see. " The world is full of 
possibilities and open questions. Up sail, and away; let 
us test them ! 

As I scaled the mountains and descended the valleys on 
my way to college, I thought over all that my mother and 
Uncle Jacob had said to me, and had my own opinion of 
it. Of course I was not the person to err in the ways he 
had suggested. I was not to be the dupe of a boy and girl 
flirtation. My standard of manhood was too exalted, I 
reflected, and I thought with complacency how little Uncle 
Jacob knew of me. 

To be sure, it is a curious kind of a thought to a young 
man, that somewhere in this world, unknown to him, : 



MY DREAM-WIFE 



53 



to defy me to find her if I searched the world over — with 
whom I held aoinetimea airy colloquiea — not in the least 
was alie like niy dream-wife, but I iiked her for all that, 
and thought I would "give something" to know what she 
would have to say to me, juat for the curioaity of the 
thing. 

" The college was in a little village, and there was no par- 
ticular amity hetween the townspeople and the students. 
I believe it ia the understanding in such cases, that college 
students are to be regarded and treated as a tribe of Bedouin 
Arabs, whose hand is against every man, and they in their 
tura are not backward to make good the character. Public 
opinion ahuta them up together — they are a state within 
a state — with a public sentiment, laws, manners, and 
modes of thinking of their own. It is a state, too, with- 
out women. "Whea we think of this, and remember that 
all this experience is gone through in the moat gaseous and 
yeaaty period of human exiatence, we no longer wonder 
that there are coUege rows and scrapes, that all sorte of 
grotesque capera become hereditary and traditional, that an 
apple-cart occasionally appears on top of one of the steeples, 
that cannon-balls are rolled surreptitiously down the college 
stairs, and that tutors' doors are mysteriously found locked 
at recitation hours. One simply wonders that the roof ia 
not blown off, and the windows out, by the combined ex- 
citability of so many fermenting natures. 

There ia a tendency now in society to open the coHege 
course equally to women — to continue through college life 
that interaction of the comparative influence of the sexes 
which ia begun in the family. To a certain extent this 
experiment has been always favorably tried in the New 
England rural Academies, where young men are fitted for 
college in the same clasaea and studies with women. 

In these time-honored inatitutiona, young women have 
kept step with young men in the daily pursuit of science, 



54 MT WIFE AND I 

not only without disorder or unseemly scandal, but with 
manifestly more quietness and refinement of manner than 
obtains in institutions where female association ceases alto- 
gether. The presence of a couple of dozen of well-bred 
ladies in the lecture and recitation rooms of a college would 
probably be a preventive of many of the unseemly and 
clumsy jokes wherewith it has been customary to ' diversify 
the paths of science, to the afiliction of the souls of profes- 
sors. 

But for us boys there was no gospel of womanhood 
except what was to be got from the letters of mothers and 
sisters, and such imperfect and flitting acquaintance as we 
could pick up in the streets with the girls of the village. 
Now, though there might be profit could young men and 
women see each other daily under the responsibility of seri- 
ous business, keeping step with one another in higher 
studies, yet it by no means follows that this kind of 
flitting glimpse -like acquaintance, formed merely in the 
exchange of a few outside superficialities, can have any par- 
ticularly good effect. No element of true, worthy friend- 
ship, of sober appreciation, or manly or womanly good 
sense, generall}'^ enters into these girl and boy flirtations, 
which are the only substitute for family association during 
the barren years of student life. The students were not 
often invited into families, and those who gained a charac- 
ter as ladies' men were not favorably looked upon by our 
elders. Now and then by rare and exceptional good luck 
a college student is made at home in some good family, 
where there is a nice, kind mother and the wholesome 
atmosphere of human life ; or, he forms the acquaintance 
of some woman, older and wiser than himself, who can talk 
with him on all the multitude of topics his college studies 
suggest. But such cases are only exceptions. In general 
there is no choice between flirtation and monastic isolation. 

For my part, I posed myself on the exemplary platform, 



MY DREAM-WIFE 



55 



and remembering my Uncle Jacob's advice, contemplated 
life with the grim rigidity of a philosopher. I was going 
to have no trifling, and surveyed the girk at church, on 
Sunday, with a distant and severe air — as gay creatures 
of on hour, who could hold no place in my serious medi- 
tations. Plato or Aristotle, iu person, could not have con- 
templated life and society from a more serene height of 
composure. I was favorably known hy my teachers, and 
held raak at the head of my class, and was stigmatized as 
a " dig " by frisky young gentlemen who enjoyed rolling 
cannon-balls downstairs — taking the tongue out of the 
chapel bell — greasing the seats, and other threadhaie 
college jokes, which they had not genius enough to vary, 
BO OS to give them a spice of originality. 

But one bright June Sunday— just one of those days 
that seem made to put all one's philosophy into confuaion, 
when apple- blossom a were bursting their pink sbella, and 
robins singing, and leaves twittering and talking to each 
other in undertones, there came to me a great revelation. 

How innocently I brushed my hair and tied my neck- 
tie on that fateful morning, contemplating my growing 
mustache and whiskers hopefuUy in the small square of 
looking-glass which served for me these useful purposes of 
self-knowledge. I looked at my lineaments as those of a 
free young junior, without fear and without anxiety, with- 
out even an incipient inquiry what anybody else would 
think of them — least of all any woman — and inarched 
forth obediently and took my wonted seat iu that gallery 
of the village church which was assigned to the college 
students of Congregational descent; where, like so many 
sheep in a pen, we joined in the services of the common 
aheepfold. 

I suppose there is moral profit even in the decent self- 
denial of such weekly recurring religious exercises. To be 
forced to a certain period of silence, order, quiet, and to 



56 MY WIFE AND I 

have therein a possibility and a suggestion of commnnioii 
with a Higher Power, and an outlook into immortality, is 
something not to be undervalued in education, and justifies 
the stringency with which our Kew England colleges pre- 
serve and guard this part of their regime. 

But it was to be confessed in our case, that the number 
who really seemed to have any spiritual participation or 
sympathy in the great purposes of the exercises was not a 
majority. A general, dull decency of demeanor was the 
most frequent attainment, and such small recreations were 
in vogue as could be pursued without drawing the attention 
of the monitors. There was some telegraphy of eyes be- 
tween the girls of the village and some of the more society- 
loving fellows, who had cultivated intimacies in that quar- 
ter; there were some novels, stealthily introduced and 
artfully concealed and read by the owner, while his head, 
resting on the seat before him, seemed bowed in devotion; 
and some artistic exercises in sketching caricatures on the 
part of others. For my own part, having been trained 
religiously, I gave strict outward and decorous attention; 
but the fact was that my mind generally sailed off on some 
cloud of fancy, and wandered through dreamland, so that 
not a word of anything present reached my ear. This 
habit of reverie and castle-building, repressed all the week 
by the severe necessity of definite tasks, came upon me 
Sundays as Bunyan describes the hot, sleepy atmosphere 
of the enchanted ground. 

Our pastor was a good man, who wrote a kind of smooth, 
elegant, unexceptionable English; whose measured cadences 
and easy flow were, to use the Scripture language, as a 
"very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and 
can play sweetly upon an instrument." I heard him as 
one hears murmurs and voices through one's sleep, while 
my spirit went everywhere under the sun. I traveled in 
foreign lands, I saw pictures, cathedrals; I had thrilling 



\ 



MY DHEAM-WTFE 



57 



adventuree and hairbreadth escapee; formed strange and 
exciting acquaintances; in short, was the hero of a ro- 
mance, whose scenes changed as airily and easily as the 
Bunaet clouds of evening. So really and ao vividly did 
this supposititious life Gxcit« me that I have actually found 
myself with tears in my eyes through the pathos of these 
unsubstantial visions. 

It was in one of the lulling pauses of such a romance, 
while I yet heard the voice of our good pastor proving that 
"aelfiahnesa was the essence of moral evil," that I lifted 
up my eyes, and became for the first time conscioua of a 
new face, in the third pew of the broad aiale below me. 
It waa a new one — one that certainty had never been there 
before, and was altogether just the face to enter into the 
moat ethereal perceptions of my visionary life. I started 
with a BOit of awakening thrill, such, pethaps, as Adam 
had when he woke from hia sleep and saw his Eve. There, 
to be Bute, waa the face of my dream-wife, incarnate and 
visible! That face, ao refined, ao spiritual, ao pure! a 
baptized. Christianized Greek face ! A cross between Venua 
and the Virgin Mary ! The outlines were purely, severely 
classical, such as I have since seen in the Psyche of the 
Naples Gallery; but the large, tremulous, pathetic eyes 
redeemed them from statuesque coldness. They were eyes 
that thought, that looked deep into life, death, and eternity 
— so I said to myself as I gazed down on her, and held 
my breath with a kind of religioua awe. The vision was 
all in white, as such visions must be, and the gauzy crape 
bonnet with its flowers upon her head dissolved under my 
eyes into a sort of sacred aureole, such as surrounds the 
heads of saints. I saw her, and only her, through the 
remaining hour of church. I studied every movement. 
The radiant eyes were fixed upon the minister, and with 
an expression so sadly earnest that I blushed for my own 
wandering thoughts, and began to endeavor to turn my 



68 MY WIFE AND I 

mind to the truths I was hearing told; but, after all, I 
thought more about her than the discourse. I saw her 
search the hymn-book for the hymn, and wished that I 
were down there to find it for her. I saw her standing 
up, and looking down at her hymns with the wonderful 
eyes veiled by long lashes, and singing, — 

" Call me away from earth and sense, 
One sovereign word can draw me thence, 
I would obey the voice divine, 
And all inferior joys resign." 

How miserably gross, and worldly, and unworthy I felt 
at that moment! How I longed for an ideal, superhuman 
spirituality, — something that should make me worthy to 
touch the hem of Her garment! 

When the blessing was pronoimced, I hastened down 
and stood where I might see her as she passed out of 
church. I had not been alone in my discoveries: there 
had been dozens of others that saw the same star, and there 
were whisperings, and elbowings, and consultings, as a 
knot of juniors and seniors stationed themselves, as I had 
done, to see her pass out. 

As she passed by she raised her eyes slowly, and as it 
were by accident, and they fell like a ray of sunlight on 
one of our number, — Jim Fellows — who immediately 
bowed. A slight pink flush rose in her cheeks as she 
gracefully returned the salutation, and passed on. Jim 
was instantly the great man of the hour; he knew her, it 
seems. 

" Jt 's Miss Ellery, of Portland. Haven't you heard of 
her ] " ho said, with an air of importance. " She *s the 
groat beauty of l*ortland. They call her the * little divin- 
ity. ' Met her last summer, at Mount Desert, " he added, 
with the comfortable air of a man in possession of the 
leading fact of the hour — the fact about which everybody 
else is inquiring. 



Srr DHEAM-WIFF. 



59 



I walked home behind lier in a kind of trance, disdain- 
ing to join in what I thought the very flippant and Tin- 
worthy commenta of the boys, I saw the last wave of her 
white garments as she passed hetween the two evergreens 
in front of Deacon Brown's square white house, which at 
that moment became to me a mysterious and glorified 
shrine; there the angel held her tabernacle. 

At this moment I met Misa Dotha Brown, the deacon's 
eldest daughter, a rosy-cheeked, pleasant- faced girl, to ■ 
■whom I had been introduced the week before. Instantly 
she W£i8 clothed upon with a new interest in my eyes, and 
I saluted her with ernpressement ; if not the rose, ahe at 
least was the clay that was imbibing the perfume of the 
rose; and I don't doubt that my delight at seeing her 
assumed the appearance of personal admiration. "What 
a charming Sunday," I said, with emphasis. "Perfectly 
charming," said Miss Brown aympathetically. 

"You have an intereating young friend staying with 
you, I observe," said I. 

"Who, Miss EUeryl oh yea, Mr, Henderson, she is 
the aweeteat girl ! " aaid Dotha, with effusion, 

I didn't doubt it, and listened eagerly to her praises, 
and was grateful to Misa Brown for the warm invitation to 
"call" which followed. Miss Ellery was to make them a 
long visit, and she would be so happy to introduce me. 

That evening Miss Ellery waa a topic of excited discus- 
sion in our entry, and Jim Fellows plumed himself largely 
on his Mount Desert experieucea, which he related in a 
way to produce the impression that he had been regarded 
with a favorable eye by the divinity, I was in a state of 
silent indignation, at him, at all the reat of the boya, at 
everybody in general, being fully persuaded that they were 
utterly incapable of understanding or appreciating this won- 
derful creature, 

"Hal, why don't yon talk! " said one of them to me, 



60 MY WIFE AND 1 

when I had sat silent, pretending to read for a long time. 
" What do you think of her 1 " 

''Oh, I'm no ladies' man, as you all know," I said 
evasively, and actually pretended not to have remarked 
Miss Ellery except in a cursory manner. 

Then followed a period of weeks and months, when that 
one image was never for a moment out of my thoughts. 
By a strange law of our being, a certain idea can accom- 
pany us everywhere, not stopping or interrupting the 
course of the thought, but going on in a sort of shadowy 
way with it, as an invisible presence. 

The man or woman who cherishes an ideal is always 
liable to this accident, that the spiritual image often de- 
scends like a mantle, and invests some very ordinary per- 
son, who is, for the time being, transfigured, — "a woman 
clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet." 
It is not what there is in the person, but what there is in 
f^, that gives this passage in life its critical power. It 
would seem as if there were in some men, and some 
women, preparation for a grand interior illumination and 
passion, like that hoard of mystical gums and spices which 
the phoenix was fabled to prepare for its funeral pile; all 
the aspiration and poetry and romance, the upheaval toward 
an infinite and eternal good, a divine purity and rest, may 
be enkindled by the touch of a very ordinary and earthly 
hand, and, burning itself out, leave only cold ashes of 
experience. 

Miss Ellery was a well-bred young lady, of decorous and 
proper demeanor, of careful religious education, of no par- 
ticular strength either of mind or emotion, good-tempered, 
and with an instinctive approbativeness that made her 
desirous to please everybody, which created for her the 
reputation that Miss Brown expressed in calling her "a 
sweet girl." She was always most agreeable to those with 
whom she was thrown, and for the time being appeared to 



MY DREAM-WIFE 



61 



be and wae sincerely interested in them; but her mind 
was like a well- polished looking-glass, retaining not a trace 
of anything absent or .distant. 

She was gifted by nature with wonderful beauty, and 
beauty of that peculiar style that stirs the senses of the 
poetical and the ideal; her gentle appro bativeness and the 
graceful facility of her manner were such as not at least 
to destroy the visions which her beauty created. In a 
quiet way she enjoyed being adored — made love to, but 
she never overstepped the bounds of strict propriety. She 
received me with graciousness, and I really think found 
something in my society which was agreeably stimulating 
to her. I was somewhat out of the common track of her 
adorers; my ardor and enthusiasm gave her a new emotion. 
I wrote poems to her, which she read with a graceful pen- 
sivenesa and laid away among her trophies in her private 
writing-desk. I called her my star, my inspiration, my 
tight, and she beamed down on me with a pensive purity. 
"Yes, she was delighted to have me read Tennyson to 
her," and many an hour when I should have been study- 
ing, I was lounging in the little front parlor of the Brown 
house, fancying myself Sir Galahad, and reading with emo- 
tion, how bis "blade was strong, because his heart was 
pure;" and Miss Eilery murmured "How lovely!" and 
I was in paradise. 

And then there came wonderful moonlight evenings — 
eveaings when every leaf stirring had a penciled reproduc- 
tion flickering in light and shade on the turf; and we 
walked together under arches of elm-trees, and I talked 
and quoted poetry ; and she listened and assented in the 
sweetest manner possible. All my hopes, my plans, my 
dreams, my speculations, my philosophies, came out to sun 
themselves under the magic of those lustrous eyes. Her 
replies and utterances were greatly in disproportion to 
mine; but I received them, and made much of them, as of 



62 MT WIFE AND I 

old the priests of Delphi did with those of the inspired 
maiden. There must he deep meaning in it all, because 
she was a priestess ; and I was not backward to supply it. 

I have often endeavored to analyze the sources of the 
illusion cast over men by such characters as that of Miss 
Ellery. In their case the instinctive action of approbative- 
ness assumes the semblance of human sympathy, and brings 
them for the time being into the life-sphere, and under 
the influence, of any person whom they wish to please, so 
that they with a temporary sincerity reflect back the ideas 
and feelings of others. There is just the same illusiYe 
sort of charm in this reflection of our own thoughts and 
emotions from another mind, as there is in the reflection 
of objects in a placid lake. There is no warmth and no 
reality to it; and yet, for the time being, it is often the 
most entrancing thing in the world, and gives back to you 
the glow of your own heart, the fervor of your imagination, 
and even every little flower of fancy, and twig of feeling, 
with a wonderful faithfulness of reproduction. It is not 
real sympathy, because, like the image in the lake, it is 
only there when you are present; and when you are away, 
reflects with equal facility the next comer. 

But men always have been, and to the end of time al- 
ways will be, fascinated by such women, and will suppose 
this mere reflecting power of a highly polished surface to 
be the sympathetic response for which the heart longs. So 
I had no doubt that Miss Ellery was a woman of all sorts 
of high literary tastes and moral heroisms, for there was 
nothing so high or so deep in the aspirations of poets or 
sages in my readings to her that could not be reflected and 
glorifled in those wonderful eyes. 

Neither are such women hypocrites, as they are often 
called. What they give back to you is for the time being 
a sincere reflection, ttnd if there is no depth to it^ if it 
passes away with the passing hour, it is simply because 



MY DBEAM-WIFB 



63 



their natures — smooth, shallow, and cold — have no deeper 
power of retention. The fault lies in expecting more of a, 
thing than there is in its nature — a fault we sliall more or 
less all go on committing till the great curtain falls. 

I wrote all about her to my mother, and received the 
usual cautionary maternal epistle r reminding me that I was 
yet far from that goal in life when I was warranted in 
asking any woman to be my wifa, and suggesting that my 
taste might alter with maturity ; warning me against pre- 
mature commitments — in short, saying all that good, anx- 
ious mothers usually say to young juniors in college in 
similar circum stances. 

In reply, I told my mother that I had found a woman 
worthy the devotion of a life — a woman who would be 
inspiration and motive and reward. I estolled her purity 
and Hointliness. I told my mother that she was forming 
and leading me to all that was holy and noble. In short, 
I meant to win her though the seven labors of Hercules 
were to be performed seven times over to reach her. 

Now the fact is, my mother might have saved herself 
her anxiety. Miss Ellery was perfectly willing to be my 
guiding star, my inspiration, my light, within reasonable 
limits, while making a visit in an otherwise rather dull 
town. She liked to be read to; abe liked the conscious- 
Dess of being inceaaantly admired, and would have made a 
very good image for some Church of the Perpetual Adora- 
tion ; but after all. Miss Ellery was as incapable of forming 
an ineligible engagement of marriage with a poor college 
student as the most sensible and coUected of Walter Scott's 
heroines. 

Looking back upon this part of my lite, I can pity my- 
self with as quiet and dispassionate a perception as if I 
were a third person. The illusion, for the time being, 
was so real, the feelings called up by it so honest and ear- 
nest and sacred] and supposing there had been a tangible 



64 MY WIFE AND I 

reality to it — what might not such a woman have made of 
me, or of any man ? 

And suppose it pleased €rod to send forth an army of 
such women, as I thought her to he, among the lost chil- 
dren of men, women armed not only with the outward and 
visihle sign of heauty, but with that inward and spiritual 
grace which beauty typifies, one might believe that the 
golden age would soon be back upon us. 

Miss Ellery adroitly avoided all occasions of any critical 
commitment on my part or on hers. Women soon leani 
a vast amount of tact and diplomacy on that subject; bat 
she gave me to understand that I was peculiarly congenial 
to her, and encouraged the outflow of all my romance 
with the gentlest atmosphere of indulgence. To be sure, I 
was not the only one whom she thus held with bonds of 
golden gossamer. She reigned a queen, and had a court 
at her feet, and the deacon's square, white, prosaic house 
bristled with the activity and vivacity of Miss Ellery's 
adorers. 

Among them Will Marshall was especially distinguished. 
Will was a senior, immensely rich, good-natured as the 
longest summer day is long, but so idle and utterly incapa- 
ble of culture that only the liberality of the extra sum paid 
to a professor who held him in guardianship secured his 
stay in college classes. It has been my observation that 
money will secure a great variety of things in this lower 
world, and, among others, will carry a very stupid fellow 
through college. 

Will was a sort of favorite with us all. His good- 
nature was without limit, and he scattered his money with 
a free hand, and so we generally spoke of him as "Poor 
Will ; " a nice fellow, if he could n*t write a decent note, 
and blundered through all his recitations. Will laid him- 
self, so to speak, at Miss Ellery 's feet. He was flush of 
bouquets and confectionery. He caused the village livery 



MT DHEAM-WIFE 



€5 



«table to import forthwith a turnout worthy to be a car of 
Veoua herself. 

I saw all this, but it never entered my head that Miss 
Ellery would cast a moment's thought other than those of 
the gentlest womanly compasaion on poor Will Marshall, 

The time of the summer vacation drew nigh, and with 
the close of the term closed the vision of my idyllic expe- 
riences with MisB Ellery- To the last she was so gentle 
and easy to bs entreated. Her lovely eyes cast on me such 
bright encouraging glances; and she accorded me a farewell 
moonlight ramble, wherein I walked not on earth, but 
in the seventh heaven of felicity. Of course there was 
nothing deSnite. I told her that I was a poor soldier of 
fortune, hut might I only wear her name in my bosom, it 
would be a sacred talisman, and give strength to my arm, 
and she sighed, and looked lovely, and she did not aay me 

I went home to my mother, and wearied that much- 
enduring woman, all through the vacation, with the hot 
and cold fits of my fever. Bleseed souls! these mothers, 
who bear and watcb and rear the wstless creatures, who by 
and by come to them with the very heart gone out of them 
for love of another woman — some idle girl, perhaps, that 
never knew what it was either to love or care, and that 
plays with hearts as kittens do with pinballa ! 

I wrote to MisB Ellery letters long, overflowing, and got 
back little neatly worded notes on scented paper, speaking 
in a general way of the charms of friendship, But the first 
news that met me on my return to college broke my soap- 
bubble at one touch. 

"Hurrah! Hal — who do you guess is engaged 1" 

"I don't know," 

"Guess." 

"I couldn't guesB," 

"Why, Miss Ellery — engaged to Bill Marshall," 



66 MT WIFE AND I 

Alnaschar, in the Arabian tale, could not have been 
more astonished when his basket of glassware fell in glit- 
tering nothingness. I stood stupid with astonishment. 

**She engaged to Will Marshall! — why, boys, he 's a 
fool!" 

"But you see he's rich. Oh, it's all arranged; they 
are to be married next month, and go to Europe for their 
wedding tour," said Jim Fellows. 

And so my idol fell from its pedestal -^ and my fint 
dream dissolved. 



CHAPTER VI 



THE VALLEY OF HUMILIATION 

MiB9 Ellery was Hufficiently mistreBS of herself, and 
of circumstances, to close our little pastoral in the moat 
graceful and amiable manner possible. I received a beau- 
tiful roBe-scented note from her, saying that the very kind 
interest in her happiness which I always had expressed, 
and the extremely plea£ant friendship which had arisen 
between us, made her desirous of informing me, etc., etc. 
Thereupon followed the announcement of her engagement, 
terminating with the aaaurance that whatever new ties she 
might form, or scenes she might visit, she should ever 
cherish a pleasant remembrance of the delightful hours 
apent beneath the elms of X, and indulge the kindest 
wishes for my future success and happiness. 

I, of course, crushed the rose-scented missive in my 
hand, in the most approved tragical style, and felt that I 
had been deceived, betrayed, and undone. I passed forth- 
with into that cynical state of young manhood, in which 
one learns for the first time what a mere unimportant drop 

, own most terribly earnest and excited feelings may be 
in the tumbling ocean of the existing world. This is a 
Valley of Humiliation, which lies, in very many cases, just 
a day's walk beyond the Palace Beautiful with all its fasci- 
nations. 

The moral geographer, John Bunyan, to whom we are 
indebted for much wholesome information, tells us that 
■while it ifl extremely difficult to descend gracefully into 
tiiis valley, and pilgrims generally accomplish it al the 



68 MY WIFE AND I 

expense of many a sore trip and stumble, yet when once 
they are fairly down, it presents many advantages of climate 
and soil not otherwhere found. 

The. shivering to pieces of the first ideal, while it hreakB 
ruthlessly and scatters much that is reaUy and honestly 
good and worthy, breaks up no less a certain stock of un- 
conscious self-conceit, which young people are none the 
worse for having lessened. The very assumption, so com- 
mon in the early days of life, that we have feelings of a 
peculiar sacredness above the comprehension of the com- 
mon herd,. and for which only the selectest sympathy is 
possible, is one savoring a little too much of the unregen- 
erate natural man, to be safely let aloue to grow and thrive. 

Natures, in particular, whose ideality is largely in the 
ascendant, are apt to begin life with the scheme of building 
a high and thick stone wall of reticence around themselves, 
and enthroning therein an idol, whose rites and service are 
to be performed with a contemptuous indifference to all 
the rest of mankind. 

When this idol is suddenly disenchanted by some stroke 
of inevitable reality, and we discern that the image which 
we had supposed to be the shrine of a divinity is only a 
very earthly doll, stuffed with sawdust, one's pinnacles 
and battlements — the whole temple in short, that we have 
prided ourselves on, comes tumbling down about us like 
the walls of Jericho, not without a certain sense of the 
ridiculous. Though, like other afflictions, this is not for 
the present joyous, still the space thus cleared in our mind 
may be so cultivated as afterwards to bring forth peaceable 
fruits of righteousness. 

In my case, my idol was utterly defaced and destroyed 
in my eyes, because I could not conceal from myself that 
she was making a marriage wholly without the one element 
that above all others marriage requires. Miss Ellery was 
perfectly well aware of the mental inferiority of poor Bill 



THK VALLEY OF HUMILIATION 69 

Marshall, and had listened unreprovingly to the half-con- 
temptuoua pity with which it was customary among ue to 
epeak of him. I remembered how patronizingly I had 
often talked of him to her, " Really not a bad fellow — 
only a little weak, you see ; " and the pretty, graceful droll- 
ery in hei eyes. I remembered tilings that these same 
eyes had looked at me when he blundered and miscalled 
wonls in conversation, and a thousand sayings and intima- 
tions, each by itself indefinite as the boundary between two 
tints of the rainbow, by which she showed a superior sense 
of pleasure in my conversation and society. 

And was all this acting and insincerity? I thought not. 
I was and am fully convinced that had I only been pos' 
sessed of the wealth of Bill Marshall, Miss Ellery would 
infinitely have preferred mo as a life companion; and it 
was no very serious amount of youthful vanity to imagine 
that I should have proved a more entertaining one. I can 
easily imagine that she made the decision with some gentle 
regret at first, — regret dried up like morning dew in the 
full sunlight of wedding diamonds, and capable of being 
put completely to sleep upon a couch of cashmere shawls. 

With what indignant bitterness did I listen to all the 
details of the impending wedding from fluent Jim Fellows, 
who, being from Portland and well posted in all the gossip 
of the circle in which she moved, enlightened our entry 
with daily and weekly bulletins of the grandeur and splen- 
dors that were being, and to be. 

"Boys, only think! Her wedding present from him is 
a Bet of diamonds valued at twenty-live thousand dollars. 
Bob Elvers saw them on exhibition at Tiffany's. Then 
she has three of the most splendid cashmere shawls that 
ever were imported into Maine. Captain Sautelle got them 
from an Indian Prince, and there 'e no saying what they 
would have cost at usual rates. I tell you, Bill is going it 
in style, and they are going to be married with drums and 



70 MY WIFE AND I 

trumpets, cymbals and dances; such a wedding as will 
make old Portland stare; and then off they are going to 
travel no end of time in Europe, and see all the kingdoms 
of the world, and the glory of them." 

Now, I suppose none of us doubted that could Miss 
Ellery have attained the diamonds and the cashmeres and 
the fortune, with all its possibilities of luxury and self- 
indulgence, without the addition of the husband, nothing 
would have been wanting to complete her good fortune; 
but it is a condition in the way of a woman's making a 
fortune by marriage, as it was with Faust's compact with 
an unmentionable party, that it can only be ratified by the 
sacrifice of herself — herself, and for life! A sacrifice 
most awful and holy when made in pure love, and most 
fearful when made for any other consideration. The fact 
that Miss Ellery could make it was immediate and com- 
plete disenchantment to me. 

Mine is not, I suppose, the only case where the ideal 
which has been formed under the brooding influence of a 
noble mother is shattered by the hand of woman. Some 
woman, armed with the sacramental power of beauty, en- 
kindles the highest manliness of the youth, and is, in his 
eyes, the incarnate form of purity and unworldly virtue, the 
high prize and incitement to valor, patience, constancy, and 
courage in the great life- battle. 

But she sells herself before his eyes, for diamonds and 
laces, and trinkets and perfumes ; for the liberty of walk- 
ing on soft carpets and singing in gilded cages ; and all the 
world laughs at his simplicity in supposing that, a fair 
chance given, any woman would ever do otherwise. Is 
not beauty woman's capital in trade, the price put into her 
hand to get whatever she needs ; and are not the most beau- 
tiful, as a matter of course, destined prizes of the richest ? 

Miss Ellery 's marriage was to me a great awakening, a 
coming out of a life of pure ideas and sentiment into one of 



THE VALLEY OF HUMILIATION 



71 



external reiilitiea. Hitherto, I had lived only with people 
all whose meuHurea and valuations had been those relating 
to the character — the intellect and the heart. Never 
in my father's house had I heard the gaining of money 
spoken of as success in life, except as far as money was 
needed to advance education, and education was a means 
for doing good. My father had his zeal, his earnestness, 
his exaltations, but they all related to things to be dons 
in hia life-work; the eaving of souls, the conversion of 
sinners, the gathering of churches, the repression of intem- 
perance and immorality, the advancement of education. 
My elder brothers had successfully entered the ministry 
under bis influence, end in counsels with them where to 
settle I had never heard the question of salary or worldly 
support even discussed. The first, the only question I 
ever heard considered, was What work was needed to be 
done, and what fitness for the doing of it; taking for 
granted the record, that where the Kingdom of God and 
its righteousness were first sought, all things would be 
added. Thus all my visions of future life had in them 
something of the innocent verdancy of the golden age, 
when noble men strove for the favor of fair women, by 
pureness, by knowledge, by heroiaia, — and the bravest 
won the crown from the hand of the moat beautiful. 

And suddenly to my awakened eyes the whole rushing 
cavalcade of fashionable life swept by, bearing my princesa, 
amid waving feathers and flashing jewels and dazzling robes 
and merry laughs and jests, leaving me by the wayside 
dazed and covered with dust, to plod on alone. Now first 
I felt the shame which coraes over a young man, that he 
has not known the world as old worldlings know it. 

In the discussions among the boya, relating to this mar- 
riage, I first learned the power of that temptation which 
comes upon every young man to look on wealth as the first 
object in a life-race. 



72 MY WIFE AND I 

Woman is by order of nature the conservator of ihm 
ideal. Formed of finer clay, with nicer perceptions^ and 
refined fibre, she is the appointed priestess to guard the 
poetry of life from sacrilege ; but if she be l»ibed to betray 
the shrine, what hope for us ? ''If the salt have lost its 
savor, wherewith shall it be salted t " 

My acquaintance with Miss Ellery had brought me out 
of my scholastic retirement, and made me an acquaintance 
of the whole bevy of the girls of X. Miss Ellery had been 
invited and f^ted in all the families, and her special train 
of adorers had followed her, and thus I was au eaurant 
of all the existing girl- world of our little town. It was 
curious to remark what a silken flutter of wings, what an 
endless volubility of tongues there was, about this engage- 
ment and marriage, and how, on the whole, it was treated 
as the height of splendor and good fortune. My rosy-faced 
friend, Miss Dotha, was invited to the festival as bridea- 
maid, and returned thereafter "trailing clouds of glory" 
into the primitive circles of X ; and my cynical bittemesi 
of soul took a sort of perverse pleasure in the amplificationB 
and discussions that I constantly heard in the tea-drinking 
circles of the town. 

"Oh, girls, you-'ve no idea about those diamonds," said 
Miss Dotha ; " great big diamonds as large as peas, and just 
as clear as water! ■ Bill Marshall made them send orders 
to Europe specially for the purpose ; then she had a pearl 
set that his mother gave, and his sister gave an amethyst 
set for a breakfast suit ! and you ought to have seen the 
presents! It was a perfect bazaar! The Marshalls are an 
enormously rich family, and they all came down splendidly ; 
old Uncle Tom Marshall gave a solid silver dining set em- 
bossed with gold, and old Aunt Tabitha Marshall gave a 
real Sfevres china tea-set, that was taken out of one of .ae 
royal palaces in France at the time of the French Bevolu- 
tion. Captain Atkins was in France about the time they 



THE VALLEY OF HUMILIATION 



73 



were sacking palaces, and doing all such things, and he 
brought away quite a number of things that found their 
way into some of these rich old Portland families. Her 
wedding veil was given by old Grandmamma Marahall, 
nnd was said to have been one that belonged to Queen 
Marie Antoinette, taken by some of those horrid women 
when they sacked the Tuileiies, and sold to Captain At- 
kins; at any rate, it was the most wonderful point lace, 
just like an old picture," 

Fancy the drawing of breaths, the exclamations, the 
groans of delight, from a knot of pretty, well-dressed, nice 
country girls, at these wonderful glimpses into paradise. 

" After all, " I said, " I think this custom of loading down 
a. woman with finery just at hei marriage hour is giving it 
when she is least able to appreciate it. Why distract her 
with gewgaws at the very moment when her heart muat 
be so full of a new affection that she cares for nothing else 1 
Miss E^ery is probably so lost in her love for Mr. Mar- 
shall that she scarcely gives a thought to these things, and 
really forgets that she baa them. It would be much more 
in point to give them to some girl that hasn't a lover." 

I spoke with a simple, serious air, as if I had most per- 
fect faith in my words, and a general gentle smile of amuse- 
ment went round the circle, rippling into a laugh outright 
on the faces of some of the gayer girls. Miss Dotha said: 

"Oh, come, now, Mr. Henderson, you are too severe." 

"Severe! " said I; "I can't understand what you mean, 
Miss Dotha. ■ You don't mean, of course, to intimate that 
Miss Ellery is not in love with the man she has married 1" 

"Oh, now!" said Miss Dotha, laughing, "you know 
perfectly, Mr. Henderson — we all know — it 's pretty 
well understood, that this wasn't erncfhj what you call a 
love-match ; in fact, I know," she adiled, with the assurance 
of a confidante, "that she had great difBculty in viaking up 
her mind; but her family were very anxious for the 



74 MY WIFE AND I 

match, and his family thought it would be such a good 
thing for him to marry and settle down, you know, so one 
way and another she concluded to take him." 

"And, after all, Will Marshall is a good-natured crea- 
ture," said Miss Smith. 

'^And going to Europe is such a temptation," said Miss 
Brown. 

'^And she must marry some time," said Miss Jones, 
"and one can't have everything, you know. Will is cer- 
tain to be kind to her, and let her have her own way." 

"For my part," said pretty Miss Green, "I'm free to 
say that I don't blame any girl that has a chance to get 
such a fortune, for doing it, as Miss Ellery has. I 'ye al- 
ways been poor, and pinched, and plagued; never can go 
anywhere, or see anything, or dress as I want to; and if 
I had a chance, such as Miss Ellery had, I think I should 
be a fool not to take it." 

"Well," said Miss Black reflectively, "the only ques- 
tion is, could n't Miss Ellery have waited and found a man 
who had more intellect, and more culture, whom she could 
respect and love, and who had money, too ? She had such 
extraordinary beauty and such popular manners, I should 
have thought she might." 

"Oh, well," said Miss Dotha, "she was getting on — 
she was three-and-twenty already — and nobody of just the 
right sort had turned up — * a bird in the hand ' — you 
know. After all, I dare say she can love Will Marshall 
well enough." 

Well enough / The cool philosophic tone of this phrase 
smote on my ear curiously. 

"And pray, fair ladies, how much is 'well enough'!" 
said I. 

"Well enough to keep the peace," said Miss Green, 
^and each let the other alone, to go their own ways and 
have no fighting." 



THE VALLEY OP HUMIUATION 



75 



Miss Green waa a pretty, spicy little body, with a pair 
of provoking hazel eyes; who talked like an unprincipled 
little pirate, though she generally acted like a nice woman. 
In leas than a year after, by the bye, she married a home 
missionary, in Maine, and has been a devoted wife and 
mother in a little parish somewhere in the region of Skow- 
hegan ever since. 

But I returned to my room gloriously misanthropic, and 
for eome time my thoughts, like bees, were busy gathering 
bitter honey. I gave up visiting in the tea-drinking circles 
of X. I got myself a dark sombrero hat, which I slouched 
down over my eyes in bandit style when I walked the 
street and met with any of my former gentle acquaintances. 
I wrote my mother most sublime and awful letters on the 
inconceivable vanity and nothingness of human life. I 
lead Plato and .S^hylua, and Emerson's Essays, and began 
to think myself an old Philosopher risen from the dead. 
There was a melancholy gravity about all my college exer- 
cises, and I began to look down on young freshmen and 
sophomores with a serene compassion, as a sage who has 
passed through the vale of years and learned that all is 
vanity. 

The Valley of Humiliation may have its charms — it is 
said that there are many flowers that grow there, and no- 
where else, but for all that, a young fellow, so far as I 
know, generally walks through the first part of it in rather 
a surly and unamiahle state. To he sure, had I been wise, 
I should have been ready to return thanks on my knees 
for my disappointment. True, the doll was stuffed with 
sawdust, but it was not my doll. I had not learned the 
cheat when it was forever too late to help myseK, and was 
not condemned to spend life in vain attempts to make a 
warm, living friend of a cold marble statue. Many a man 
has succeeded in getting his first ideal, and been a miser- 
aUe man always thereafter and therefor. 



76 MY WIFE AND I 

I haye liyed to hear yery tranquilly of Mrs. Will Mar- 
shall's soirees and parties, as she reigns in the aristocratio 
circles of New York; and to see her, still like a polished 
looking-glass, gracefully reflecting every one's whims and 
tastes and opinions with charming suavity, and forgetting 
them when their backs are turned; and to think that she 
is the right thing in the right place — a crowned Queen of 
Vanity Fair. I have become, too, very tolerant and indul- 
gent to the women who do as she did, — use their own 
charms as the coin wherewith to buy the riches and honors 
of the world. 

The world has been busy for some centuries in shutting 
and locking every door through which a woman could step 
into wealth, except the door of marriage. All vigor and 
energy, such as men put forth to get this golden key of 
life, is condemned and scouted as unfeminine; and a 
woman belonging to the upper classes, who imdertakes to 
get wealth by honest exertion and independent industry, 
loses caste, and is condemned by a thousand voices as an 
oddity and a deranged person. A woman gifted with 
beauty, who sells it to buy wealth, is far more leniently 
handled. That way of getting money is not called un- 
womanly ; and so long as the whole force of the world goes 
that way, such marriages as Miss Ellery's and Bill Mar- 
shall's will be considered en regie. 



CHAPTER VII 



THE BLUE MISTS 

Mt college course was at last finJBhed Batislactorily to 
my mother and friends. A^at joy there ia to be got in 
college honors was mine. I studied faithfully and gradu- 
ated with the valedictory. Nevertheless I came back home 
again a sadder if not a wiser man than I weut. In fact, a 
tendency to fits of despondency and dejection had been 
growing upon me in these last two years of my college life. 

With all the self-confidence and conceit that is usually 
attributed to young men, and of which they have their 
share undoubtedly, they still have their times of walking 
through troubled waters, and sinking in deep mire where 
there ia no standing. 

During my last year, the question "What are you good 
fori" had often borne down like a nightmare upon me. 
When I entered college all was distant, golden, indefinite, 
and I was sure that I was good for almost anything that 
could be named. Nothing that ever had been attained by 
man looked to me impossible. Riches, honor, fame, any- 
thing that any other man unassisted had wrought oat for 
himself with his own right arm, I could work out also. 

But as I measured myself with real tasks, and as I 
rubbed and grated gainst other minds and whirled round 
and round in the various experiences of college life, I grew 
smaller and smaller in my own esteem, and oftener and 
oftener in my lonely hours it seemed as if some evil genius 
delighted to lord it over me, and sitting at my bedside or 
fireside to say, "What are you good for, to what purpose 



78 MY WIFE AND I 

all the pains and money that have been thrown away on 
you? You *11 never be anything; you '11 only mortify your 
poor mother that has set her heart on you, and make youi 
Uncle Jacob ashamed of you." Can any anguish equal 
the depths of those blues in which a man's whole self 
hangs in suspense before his own eyes, and he doubts 
whether he himself, with his entire outfit and apparatus, 
body, soul, and spirit, isn't to be, after all, a complete 
failure ? Better, he thinks, never to have been bom, than 
to be bom to no purpose. Then first he wrestles with the 
question. What is life for, and what am I to do or seek in 
it? It seems to be not without purpose, that the actiye 
life-work of the great representative Man of Men was ush- 
ered in by a forty days' dreary wandering in the wilderness 
hungry, faint, and tempted of the Devil; for certainly, 
after education has pretty thoroughly waked up all there 
is in a man, and the time is at hand that he is to make 
the decision what to do with it, there often comes a wan- 
dering, darkened, unsettled, tempted passage in his life. 
In Christ's temptations we may see all that besets the 
young man. 

The daily-bread question, or how to get a living, — the 
ambitious heavings, or the kingdoms of the world and the 
glory of them, all to be got by some yielding to Satan, — 
the ostentatious impulse to come down on the world with 
a rush and a sensation, — these are mirrored in a young 
man's smaller life just as they were in that great life. 
The whole heavens can be reflected in the little pool as in 
the broad ocean! 

All these elements of imrest had been boiling in my 
mind during the last year. Who wants to be nothing in 
the great world ? No young man at this time of his course. 
The wisdom of becoming nothing that he may possess all 
things is too high for this stage of immaturity. 

I came into college as simple, and contented, and satis- 



THE BLTIE SIST? 



79 



fied ftB a huckleberry bush in a sweet-fern pasture. I felt 
rich enough for all I wanted to do, and my path of life lay 
before me deiiiied with great simplicity. But my intimacy 
with Mias EUery, her marriage and all that pertained to it, 
had brought before my eyea the world of wealth and fash- 
ion, a world which a young collegian may try to despise, 
and about which he may write the moat disparaging moral 
reflections, but which has, after all, its power to trouble 
his soul. The consciousness of being gloveless, and thread- 
bare in toilette, comes ovsr one in certain atmospheres, as 
the consciousness of nakedness to Adam and Eve. It ia 
true that in the institution where I attended, as in many 
other rural colleges in New l^ngland, I was backed up by 
a m^ority of heal thy -minded, hardy men, of real mark 
and worth, children of honest toil and self-respecting pov- 
erty, who were bravely working their way up through 
education to the prizes and attainments of life. Simple 
economies were therefore well understood and respected in 
the college. 

Nevertheless there is something not altogether vulgar in 
the attractions which wealth enables one to throw around 
himself. I was a social favorite in college, and took a 
stand among my follows as a writer and speaker, and ao 
had a considerable share of that sincere sort of flattery 
which college boys lavish on each other, I was invited 
and made much of by some whose means were ample, 
whose apartments were luxuriously and tastefully furnished, 
but who were none the leas good scholars and high-minded, 
gentlemanly f ellowa. 

In their vacations I had been invited to their houses, 
and had seen all the refinement, the repose, the ease, and 
the quietude that come from the possesRion of wealth in 
the hands of those who know how to use it. Wealth in 
Huch hands gives opportunities of the broadest culture, 
ability to live in the wisest manner, freedom to choose the 



BO MT WIFE AND I 

healthiest surroundings both for mind and body, not re- 
stricted by considerations of expense; and how could I 
think it anything else than an object ardently to be 
sought 1 

It is true, my rich friends seemed equally to ei\joy the 
vacations in my little, plain, mountain home. People gen- 
erally are insensible to advantages they have always enjoyed, 
and have an appetite for something new; so the homely 
rusticity of our house, the perfect freedom from convention- 
alities, the wild, mountain scenery, the wholesome detail of 
farm life, the bam with its sweet stores of hay, and its 
nooks and comers and hiding-places, the gathering in of 
our apples, and the making of cider, the com-huskings and 
Thanksgiving frolics, seemed to have their interest and 
delights to them, and they often told me I was a lucky 
fellow to be bom to such pleasant surroundings. But I 
thought within myself, It is easy to say this when you feel 
the control of thousands in your pocket, when if you are 
tired you can go to any land or country of the earth for 
change of scene. 

In fact, we see in history that the crusade of St. Francis 
in favor of Poverty was not begun by a poor man, but by 
a young nobleman who had known nothing hitherto but 
wealth and luxury. It is from the rich, if from any, that 
our grasping age must leam renunciation and simpUcity. 
It is easier to renounce a good which one has tried and of 
which one knows all the attendant thorns and stings than 
to renounce one that has been only painted by the imagi- 
nation, and whose want has been keenly felt. When I 
came to the college I came from the controlling power of 
home influences. At an early age I had felt the strength 
of that sphere of spirituality that encircled the lives of my 
parents, and, being very receptive and sympathetic, had 
reflected in my childish nature all their feelings. 

I had renounced the world before I knew what the wodd 



THE BLUE MIBT8 



81 



8, I had joined my father's church and was looked 
upon as one destined in time to take up my father's work 
of the ministry. Four years had passed, and I came back 
to my mother, weakened and douhting, indisposed to take 
up the holy work to which in my early days I looked for- 
ward with enthusiaam, jet with all the sadness which 

nea from indecision as to one's life-ohject. To be a 
minister is to embrace a life of poverty, of toil, of self- 
denial. To do this, not only with cheerfulness but with 
a enthusiasm which shall bear down all before it, which 
shall elevate it into the region of moral poetry and ideality, 
requires a fervid, unshaken faith. The man must feel the 
power of an endless life, be lifted above things material 
and temporal to things sublime and eternal. 

Now it is one peculiarity of the professors of the Chris- 
tian religion that they have not, at least of late years, 
arranged their system of education with any wise adaptation 
to having their young men come out of it Christians. In 
this they differ from many other religionists. The Brah- 
mins educate their sons so that they shall infallibly become 
Brahmins; the Jews so that they shall infallibly he Jews; 
the Mohammedans so that they shall be Mohammedans; but 
the Christians educate their sons so that nearly half of them 
turn out unbelievers — professors of no religion at all. 

There is a book which the Christian world unite in de- 
claring to be an infallible revelation from Heaven. It has 
been the judgment of critics that the various writings in 
this volume excel other writings in point of mere literary 
merit as much as they do io purity and elevation of the 
moral sentiment. Yet it is remarkable that the critical 
study of these sacred writings in their original tongues is 
not in most of our Christian collegea considered as an essen- 
tial part of the education of a Christian gentleman, while 
the heathen literature of Greece and Rome is treated as 
something indispensable, and to be gained at all hazards. 



It is a fact that from the time that the boy begins to fit 
for college, his mind is so driven anJ pressed with the 
effort to acquire the classical literature, that there is no 
time to acquire the literature of the Bible, neither is it 
associated in his mind with the dignity and respect of a 
classical attainment. He mvst be familiar with Horace 
and Ovid, with Cicero and Plato, jEschjlua and Homer in 
their original tongues, hut the majestic poetry of the Old 
Testament, and its sages and seers and prophets, become 
with every advancing year more unintelligible to him. A 
thoroughly educated graduate of most of our colleges ia 
unprepared to read intelligently many parts of Isaiah or 
Ezekiel or Paul's Epistles. The Scripture lessons of the 
church service often strike on his ear as a strange quaint 
babble of peculiar sounds, without rhyme or reason. "Un- 
cultured and uneducated in all that should enable him to 
understand them, lie is only preserved by a sort of educa- 
tional awe from regarding them as the jargon of barbarians. 

Meanwhile, this literature of the Bible, strange, weird, 
aibylline, and full of unfulfilled needs and requirements of 
study, is being assailed in detail through all the courses of 
a boy's college life. The oiijections to it as a divine reve- 
lation relate to critical questions in languages of which ha 
is ignorant, and yet they are everywhere ; they are in the 
air he breathes, they permeate all literature, they enter 
into modern science, they disintegrate and wear away, bit 
by bit, hie reverence and his confidence. 

This work had been going on insensibly in my head 
during my college life, notwithstanding the loyalty of my 
heart. During those years I bad learned to associate the 
Bible with the most sacred memories of home, with the 
dearest loves of home life. It was woven with remem- 
brances of daily gatherings around the family altar, with 
scenes of deepest emotion when I had seen my father and 
mother fly to its shelter and rest upon its promises. There 



THE BLUE lOSTS 



83 



were pasBages that never recutTBd to me except with the 
sound of my father's vibrating voice, penetrating theii 
words with a never dying power. The Bihie was to me 
like a father and a mother, and the douhts, and queriee, 
the respectful auggeationa of incredulity, the mildly sugges- 
tive abatements of its authority, which met me, now here 
and now there, in all the course of my readings and studies, 
were as painful to me aa reflections cast on my father's 
probity or my mother's honor. 

I would not listen to them, I would not give them voice, 
I smothered them in the deepest recesses of my heart, while 
meantime the daily pressure that came on me in the studies 
and requirements of college life left me neither leisure nor in- 
clination to pursue the researches that shoiild clear them up. 

To be sure, nothing is so important as tlie soul — no- 
thing !8 of so much moment as religion, and the question 
"Is this God's book or is it not? " is the question of ques- 
tions. It underlies all things, and he who is wise would 
drop all other things and undergo any toil and make any 
studies that should fit him to judge understandingly on 
this point. But I speak from experience when I say that 
the course of study in Christian America is so arranged 
that a boy, from the grammar school upward till he gradu- 
ates, is so fully pressed and overladen with all other studies 
that there is no probability that he will find the time or 
the inclination for such investigation. In most cases he 
will do just what I did, throw himself upon the studies 
proposed to him, work enough to meet the demands of the 
hour, and put off the acquisition of that more important 
knowledge to an indefiiute future, and sigh, and go back- 
ward in his faith. 

But without faith or with a faith trembling and uncer- 
tain, bow is a man to turn his back on the world that ia 
before him — the world that he can see, hear, touch, and 
tsste — to work for the world that is unseen and eternal 1 



84 MY WIFE AND 1 

I will not repeat the flattering words that often fell on 
my ear and said to me, ''You can make your way any- 
where; you can be anything you please.** And then there 
were voices that said in my heart, ''I may have wealth, 
and with it means of power, of culture, of taste, of luxury. 
If I only set out for that, I may get it." And then, in 
contrast, came that life I had seen my father live, in its 
grand simplicity, in its enthusiastic sincerity, in its exult- 
ing sense of joy in what he was doing, down to the last 
mortal moment, and I wished, oh, how fervently! that I 
could believe as he did. But to be a minister merely from 
a sense of duty — to bear the burden of poverty with no 
perception of the unspeakable riches which Christ hath 
placed therein — who would not shrink from a life so grat- 
ing and so cold ? To choose the ministry as a pedestal for 
oratory and self-display and poetic religious sentiment^ and 
thus to attain distinction and easy position, and the com- 
mand of fashionable luxury, seemed to me a temptation to 
desecration still more terrible, and I dreaded the hour 
which should close my college life and make a declBion 
inevitable. 

It was with a sober and sad heart that I closed my col- 
lege course and parted from classmates — jolly fellows 
with whom had rolled away the four best years of my life 
— years that as one goes on afterwards in age look brighter 
and brighter in the distance. It was a lonesome and pok- 
erish operation to dismantle the room that had long beeli 
my home, to bargain away my furniture, pack my books, 
and bid a final farewell to all the old quiddities and oddi- 
ties that I had grown attached to in the quaint little vil- 
lage. The parting from Alma Mater is a second leaving of 
home — and this time for the great world. There is no 
staving off the battle of life now — the tents are strud^ 
the camp-fires put out, and one must be on the march. 



CHAPTER Vm 



AN OUTLOOK INTO LIFB 

ing back to my native town was an event of 
public notoriety, I had won laurels, and as I was the 
village -property, my laurels were duly commented on and 
properly appreciated. Highland was one of those thrifty 
Yankee settlements where every house seems to speak the 
people so well-to-do, and so careful, and progressive in all 
the means of material comfort. There was not a house in 
it that was not in a sort of healthy, growing state, receiv- 
ing, from time to time, some accession that showed that 
the Yankee aspiration was busy, stretching and enlarging. 
This had a new bay-window, and that had a new veranda; 
the other, new, tight, white picket fences all round the 
yard. Others rejoiced in a fresh coat of paint. But all 
were alive, and apparently self- re pairing. There was to 
every house the thrifty wood-pile, seasoning for winter; 
the clean garden, with its wealth of fruit and its gay bor- 
ders of flowers; and every new kind of flower, and every 
choice new fruit, found somewhere a patron who was try- 
ing a hand at it. 

Highland was a place worth living in just for its scenery. 
It was at that precise point of the country where the hills 
are inspiriting, vivacious, reminding one of the Psalm, — 
"The little hills rejoice on every side!" Mountains are 
grand, but they also are dreary. For a near prospect they 
overpower too much, they shut out the sun, they have sav- 
age propensities, untamable by man, shown once in a 
while in landslides and freshets; but these half -grown 



66 MY WIFE AND I 

hills uplift one like waves of the sea. In summer they aie 
wonderful in all possible shades of greenness; in autumn 
they are like a mystical rainbow — an ocean of wayes, flam- 
boyant with every wonderful device of color; and eyen 
when the leaves are gone, in November, and nothing left 
but the bristling steel-blue outlines of trees, there is a won- 
derful purple haze, a veil of dreamy softness, around them, 
that makes you think you never saw them so beautifuL 

So I said to myself, as I came rambling over hill and 
dale back to the old homestead, and met my mother's 
bright face of welcome at the door. I was the hera of the 
hour at home, and everything had been prepared to make 
me welcome. My brother, who kept the homestead, had 
relinquished the prospect of a college life, and devoted him- 
self to farming, but looked on me as the most favored of 
mortals in the attainments I had made. His young wife and 
growing family of children clustered around my mother and 
leaned on her experience; and as every one in the little 
village knew and loved her, there was a general felicitation 
and congratulation on the event of my return and my honors. 

''See him in his father's pulpit afore long,'' said Deacon 
Manning, who called the first evening to pay his respects; 
"better try his hand at the weekly prayer meeting, and 
stir us up a bit." 

"I think. Deacon," said I, "I shall have to be one of 
those that learn in silence, awhile longer. I may come to 
be taught, but I certainly cannot teach." 

" Well, now, that 's modest for a young fellow that 's 
just been through college! They commonly are as fea- 
thery and highflying as a this year's rooster, and ready to 
crow whether their voice breaks or not," said the deacon. 
" ' Learn in silence ! * Well, that 'ere beats all for a young 
man I" 

I thought to myself that the good deacon little knew the 
lack of faith that was covered by my humility. 



AN OUTLOOK INTO UFE 



87 



Since m; father's death my mother had made her home 
with my Uncle Jacob. Ker health was delicate, and she 
preferred to enjoy the honors of a grandmother at a little 
distance. My Uncle Jacob had no children. Aunt Polly, 
his wife, was just the softest, sleekest, most domestic dove 
of a woman whose winga were ever covered with silver. I 
always think of her in some soft, pearly silk, with a filmy 
cap, and a half- handkerchief crossed over a gentle, motherly 
bosom, soft moving, soft speaking, but with a pair of 
bright, hazel eyes, keen as arrows to send their glances into 
every place in her dominions. Let anybody try sending 
in a falae account to Aunt Polly, and they will see that 
the brightneaa of her eyes was not merely for ornament. 
Yet everything she put her hand to went so exactly, so 
easily, yon would have said those eyes were made for 
nothing but reading, for which Aunt Folly had a great 
taste, and for which she found abundance of leisure. 

My mother and she were enjoying together a long and 
quiet Saturday afternoon of life, reading to each other, and 
quietly and leisurely diacuasing all that they read, — not 
merely the last novel, as the fashion of women in towns 
and cities ia apt to be, but all the solid works of philoso- 
phy and literature that marked the times. My uncle's 
hoaee was like a bookseller's stall, — it was overrunning 
with books. The cases covered the walls ; they crowded 
the comers and angles; and still every noteworthy book 
was ordered, to swell the stock. 

My mother and aunt had read together Lecky, and 
Buckle, and Herbert Spencer, with the keen critical inter- 
est of fresh minds. Had it troubled their faith ! Kot in 
the least; no more than it would that of Mary on the 
morning after the resurrection! There is a certain moral 
altitude where faith becomes knowledge, and the bat-wings 
of doubt cannot fly ao high. My mother was dwelling in 
that land of Beulah, where the sun always shineth, and the 



88 MT WIFE AND I 

bells of the heavenly city are heard, and the Bhining ones 
walk. All was clear to her, all bright, all real, in ''the 
beyond ; " but that kind of evidence is above the realm of 
heavy-footed reason. The "joy unspeakable," the ''peace 
that passeth understanding," are things that cannot be 
passed from hand to hand. Else I am quite syre my 
mother would have taken the crown of joy from her head 
and the peace from her bosom, and given them to me. 
But the " white stone with the new name " is Christ's gift 
to each for himself, and " no man knoweth it save he that 
receiveth it." 

But these witnesses who stand gazing into heaven are 
not without their power on us who stand lower. It stead- 
ied my moral nerves, so to speak, that my mother had read 
and weighed the words that were making so much doubt 
and shaking; that she fully comprehended them, and that 
she smiled without fear. She listened without distress, 
without anxiety, to all my doubts and falterings. "You 
must pass through this; you will be led; it will all come 
right," she said; "and then perhaps you will be the guide 
of others." 

I had feared to tell her that I had abandoned the pur- 
pose of the ministry, but I found it easy. 

"I would not have you embrace the ministry for any- 
thing but a true love," she said, "any more than I would 
that you should marry a wife for any other reason. If 
ever the time comes that you feel you must be that, it 
will be your call; but you can be God's minister otherwise 
than through the pulpit." 

"Talk over your plans with your uncle," she said; "he 
is in your father's place now." 

In fact, my uncle, having no children of his own, had 
set his heart on me, and was disposed to make me heir, 
not only to his very modest personal estate, but also to 
his harvest of ideas and opinions, — all that backwater of 



i 



AN OUTLOOK INTO LIPE 89 

thoughts and ideas that accumulate on the mind of a man 
who thinks and reads a great deal in a lonely neighlior- 
hood. So he took me np as a companion in hia daily rides 
over the country. 

"Well, Harry, where next?" he said to me the day 
after my return, as we were driving together. "What are 
you ahout 1 Going to try the ministry 1 " 

"I dare not; I am not fit. I know father wanted it, 
and prayed for it, and nothing would be BUch a Joy to 
mother, but " — 

My uncle gave a shrewd, sidelong glance on me. 

"I Buppoae you are like a good many fellows; an educa- 
tion gives them a general shaking up, and all their beliefs 
break from their lashinga and go rolling and tumbling 
-about like spara and oil-caaks in a storm on shipboard." 

"I can't say that is true of all my beliefs; but yet a 
great many things that I tried to regard as certain are 
untied. I have too many doubts for a teacher." 

"Who hasn't? I don't know anything in heaven or 
earth that forty unanswerable questions can't be asked 

"You know," answered I, "Tennyson says, — 
' There Uvea more fwtb in honeet doubt, 
Believe me, tlian in half the creeds.' " 

"H'm! that depends. Doubt is very well as a sort of 
constitutional crisis in the beginning of one's life; but if 
it runs on and gets to be chronic, it breaks a fellow up, 
and makes him morally spindling and sickly. Men that 
do anything in the world must be men of strong convie- 
tions; it won't do to go through life like a hen, craw- 
crawing and lifting up one foot, and not knowing where to 
set it down next." 

"But," said I, "while I am passing through the consti- 
tutional crisis, as you call it, is the very time I must make 
up my mind to teach others on the most awful of all sub- 



MY WIPE AND 1 

jeots. I cannot and dare not. I must be a learner for 

some years to come, and I must be a learner without any 
pledgee, expressed or implied, to find the truth this way 
or that." 

"Well," said my uncle, "I 'm not so greatly eoncemad 
about that — the Lord needs other niinisters besidea those 
in the pulpit. Why, man, the semions on the evidences 
of Obristianity that have come home to me most have been 
preached by lay preachers in poor houses aad lonely 
churches, by ignorant men and women, and little children. 
There 's old Aunt Sarah there," he said, pointing with his 
whip to a brown house in the distance: "that woman ia 
dying of a cancer, that slowly eata away her life in linger- 
ing agony, and all her dependence is the work of a sickly, 
consumptive daughter, and yet sbe is more than resigned 
to her lot; she is so cheerful, so thankful, so hopeful, there 
is such a blessed calm, peace and rest and sweetness in 
that house, that I love to go there. The influence of that 
woman is felt all through the village — she pieachea to 
some purpose," 

"Because she knows what she believea," I said. 

"It was the same with your father, Harry. Now, my 
boy," he added, turning to me with the old controversial 
twinkle in his eye, and speaking in a confidential tone, 
"the fact is, I never agreed with your father doctrinally; 
there were weak spots in his system all along, and I always 
told him so. I could trip him and floor him in an argu- 
ment, and have done it a hundred times," he said, giving 
a touch to his horse. 

I thought to myself that it was well enough that my 
father wasn't there to hear that statement, otherwise there 
would have been an immediate tilting match, and the whole 
ground to be gone over. 

"Yes," he aaid; "it wasn't mainly in your father's 
f that hia strength lay — it was the Christ in him 



AN OUTLOOK INTO LIFE 



91 



— the gteat warm heart — his ciyatsl purity and simplicity 

— his unworldly eamestneBS and honesty. Ke was a godly 
man and a manly man both, and he sowed seed all ovet 
this State that came up good men and good women. Yes, 
there are hundreds and hundreds in thia State to-day that 
are good men and good women mainly because he lived. 
That, 's what I call success in life, Harry, whea a man car- 
ries himself so that he turns into eeed-coin and makes a 
harvest of good people. You may upset a man's reason- 
ings, and his theology may go to the dogs, but a brave 
Chiiatian life you can't upset, it will telL Now, Harry, 
are you going to try for that 1 " 

"God helping me, I will," I said. 

"You see, as to the theologies," he added, "I think it 
has been well said that the Christian world Just now ia like 
a ship that 's tacking; it has lost the wind on one side and 
not quite got it on the other. The growth of society, the 
development of new physical laws, and this modem scientific 
rush of the human mind are going to modify the man-made 
theologies and creeds ; some of them will drop away just as the 
blossom does when the fruit forms, but Christ's religion will 
be just the same as ever — hia worda will not pass away." 

"But then," I said, "there is a whole labyrinth of per- 
plexing questions about thia Bible. What ia inspiration) 
What ground does it cover 1 How much of all these books 
ia inspired f What is their history ( How came we by 
them J What evidence have we that the record gives us 
Christ's words uncorrupted ? " 

"If you had been brought up in Justin Martyr's time 
or the days of the primitive Christians you would have 
been put to study all these things first and foremoat in 
your education, but we modern Christians teach young 
men everything else except what we profesa to think the 
most important; and so you come out of college ignorant^ 
juat where knowledge is most vital." 



92 MY WIFE AND I 

"Well, that is past praying for now," said L 

"Yes; but even now there is a way out — just as going 
through a bog you plant your foot hard on what land there 
is, and then take your bearings — so you must do here. 
The way to get rid of doubts in religion is to go to work 
with all our might and practice what we don*t doubt, and 
that you can do whatever your calling or profession." 

"I shall certainly try," said L 

"For example," said my uncle, "there's the Sermon on 
the Mount. Nobody has any doubt about that, there it 
lies — plain enough, and enough of it — not a bit of what 's 
called theology in it. Not a word of information to settle 
the mooted questions men wrangle over, but with a direct 
answer to just the questions any thoughtful man must 
want to have answered when he looks at life. Is there a 
Father in the heavens ? Will he help us if we ask f May 
the troubles of life be our discipline ? Is there a better 
life beyond? And how are we to get that? There is 
Christ's philosophy of life in that sermon, and Christ's 
mode of dealing with actual existing society; and he who 
undertakes in good faith to square his heart and life by it 
will have his hands full. The world has been traveling 
eighteen hundred years and not come fully into the light of 
its meaning. There has never been a Christian state or a 
Christian nation, according to that. That document is in 
modem society just like a lump of soda in a tumbler of vine- 
gar, it keeps up a constant commotion, and will do so till 
every particle of life is adjusted on its principles. The man 
who works out Christ's teachings into a palpable life-foiin 
preaches Christianity, no matter what his trade or calling. 
He may be a coal-heaver, or he may be a merchant, or a 
lawyer, or an editor — he preaches all the same. Men always 
know it when they meet a bit of Christ's sermons walking 
out bodily in good deeds; they 're not like worldly wisdom, 
and have a smack of something a good deal higher than 



i 



AN ODTLOOK INTO LIFE 93 

eommon sense, but when people see it they say, ' Yea — 
that 'a the true thing.' Now one of onr Presidents, Gen- 
eral Harrison, found out on a certain day that through a 
flaw in the title-deeds ha was owner to half the city of 
Cincinnati. What does he dol Why, simply he aaya to 
himself, ' Those people have paid their money in good faith, 
and 1 '11 do by them as I 'd be done by, ' and he goea to a 
lawyer and has fresh deeds drawn out for the whole of 
'em, and lived and died a poor, honest man. That action 
was a preaching of Christ's doctrine as I take it, and if 
you ']1 do as much whenever you get a chance, it 'a no 
matter what calling you take for a pulpit. So now tell 
me, what are you thinking of setting youraelf about J " 

"I intend to devote myself to literature," said I. "I 
always had a facility for writing, while I never felt the call 
or impulse toward public speaking ; and I think the field 
of current literature opens a wide scope. I have had 
already some success in having articles accepted and well 
Bpoken of, and have now some promising offers. I have 
an opportunity to travel in Europe as correspondent of two 
papera, and I shall study to improve myself. In time I 
may become an editor, and then perhaps at last proprietor 
of a paper. So runs my scheme of life, and I hope I shall 
be true to niyaelf and my religion in it. I shall certainly 
try to. Current literature, the literature of newspapers 
and magazines, is certainly a power." 

"A very great power, Harry," said my uncle; "and get- 
ting to be in our day a tremendous power, a power far out- 
going that of the pulpit, and that of books. This constant 
daily self -asserting literature of newspapers and periodicals 
is acting on us tremendously for good oi for ill. It has access 
to us at all hours and gets itself heard as a preacher caimot, 
and gets itself read as scarcely any book does. It ought 
to be entered into as solemnly as the pulpit, for it is using 
a great power. Yet just now it is power without respon- 



94 MY WIFE AND I 

sibilitj. It is in the hands of men who come under no 
pledge, pass no examination, give no vouchers, though they 
hold a power more than that of all other professions oi 
books united. One cannot be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a 
minister, unless some body of his fellows looks into his 
fitness to serve society in these ways; but one may be 
turned loose to talk in every family twice a day, on every 
subject, sacred and profane, and say anything he chooses 
without even the safeguard of a personal responsibility. 
He shall speak from behind a screen and not be known. 
Now you know old Dante says that the souls in the other 
world were divided into three classes, those who were for 
God and those who were for the Devil, and those who were 
for neither, but for themselves. It seems to me that 
there 's a vast many of these latter at work in our press 
— smart literary adventurers, who don't care a copper 
what they write up or what they write down, wholly in- 
different which side of a question they sustain, so they do 
it smartly, and ready to sell their wit, their genius, and 
thfeir rhetoric to the highest bidder. Now, Harry, I 'd 
rather see you a poor, threadbare, hard-worked, country 
minister than the smartest and brightest fellow that ever 
kept his talents on sale in Vanity Fair." 

"Well," said I, "isn't it just here that your principle 
of living out a gospel should come ? Must there not be 
writers for the press who believe in the Sermon on the 
Mount, and who are pledged to get its principles into life- 
forms as fast as they can 1 " 

"Yea, verily," said my uncle; "but do you mean to 
keep faithful to that? You have, say, a good knack at 
English; you can write stories, and poems, and essays; 
you have a turn for humor; and now comes the Devil to 
you and says, * Show me up the weak points of those re- 
formers ; raise a laugh at those temperance men, — those 
religionists, who, like all us poor human trash, are running 



AS OUTLOOK OTTO LIFE 



9fl 



religion, and morale, and progresH into the groTiad, ' Tou 
can succeed; you can carry your world with you. You 
see, if Virtue came straight down from heaven with her 
white winga and glistening robes, and always conducted 
herself just like an angel, our trial in life wouldn't be bo 
great as it is. But she doesn't. Human virtue is more 
apt to appear like a bewildered, unprotected female, encum- 
bered with all sorts of irregular bandboxes, duaty, dishev- 
eled, out of fashion, and elbowing her way with ungainly 
haste and ungraceful postures. You know there are stories 
of powerful fairies who have appeared in this way among 
men, to try their hearts; and those who protect them when 
they are feeble and dishonored, they reward when they are 
glorious, Kow, your smart, flippant, second-rate wits 
never have the grace to honor Truth when she Insea her 
way, and gets bewildered and dusty, and they drive a flour- 
ishing business in laughing down the world's poor efTorta 
to grow better." 

"I think," said I, "that we Americana have one bril- 
liant example of a man who had keen humor, and need it 
on the Christian side. The animus of the ' Biglow Pa- 
pers ' is the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount translated 
into the language of Yankee life, and defended with wit 
and drollery." 

" You say truth, Harry, and it was no small thing to do 
it; for the Anti-Slavery cause then was just in that chaotic 
atate in which every strange bird and beast, every shaggy, 
irregular, unkempt reformer, male and female, was flocking 
to it, and there was capital scope for caricature and ridi- 
cule; and all the fastidious, and conservative, and soft- 
handed, and even-stepping people were measureless in their 
contempt fur this shocking rabble. Lowell stood between 
them and the world, and fought the battle with weapons that 
the world could understand. There was a goRpel truth in 
' JoEm P. Bobinson, he,' 



96 MT WIFE AND I 

and it did what no sermon could; this is the more remark- 
able because he used for the purpose a harlequin faculty, 
that has so often been read out of meeting and excommuni- 
cated that the world had come to look at it as ex officio of 
the DeviL Whittier and Longfellow made valiant music 
of the solemn sort, but Lowell evangelized wit.'' 

"The fortunate man," said I, ''to have used a great 
opportunity ! " 

''Harry, the only way to be a real man is to have a 
cause you care for more than yourself. That made your 
father — that made your New England Fathers — that 
raises literature above some child's play, and makes it 
manly — but if you would do it you must count on one 
thing — that the Devil will tempt you in the outset with 
the bread question as he did the Lord. ' Command that 
these stones be made bread ' is the first onset — you '11 want 
money, and money will be offered for what you ought not 
to write. There 's the sensational novel, the blood and 
murder and adultery story, of which modern literature is 
full — you can produce it — do it perhaps as well as any- 
body — it will sell. Will you be barkeeper to the public, 
and when the public call for hot brandy sling give it to 
them, and help them make brutes of themselves? Will 
you help to vulgarize and demoralize literature if it will 
pay?" 

"No," said I, "not if I know myself." 

"Then you 've got to begin life with some motive higher 
than to make money, or get a living, and you '11 have 
sometimes to choose between poisonous nonsense that brings 
pay and honest truth that nobody wants." 

" And I must tell the Devil that there is a higher life 
than the bread-life ? " said L 

"Yes; get above that, to begin with. Eemember the 
story of General Marion, who invited some British officers 
to dine with him and gave them nothing but roasted pota- 



AK OUTLOOK INTO LIFE 



97 



toes. They went away and said it was in vain to try to 
conquer a people when their officers would live on such 
fare rather than give up the cauae. Do you know, Harry, 
what ia my greatest hope for this State? It'a this; Two 
or three years ago there was urgent need to carry this State 
in an eleution, and there was no end of hard money sent 
up to huy votes among our poor farmers ; but they could n't 
be bought. They had learned, ' Man shall not live by 
bread alone, ' to some purpoae. The State went all straight 
for liberty. What X ask of any man who wants to do a 
life-work is ability to he happy on a little," 

"Well," said I, "I have been brought up to that, I 
have no expensive habits. I neither drink nor smoke. I 
am used to thinking definitely as to figures, and I am will- 
ing to work hard, and begin at the bottom of the ladder, 
but I mean to keep my conscience and my religion, and 
lend a helping hand to the good cauae wherever I can." 

" Well, now, my boy, there are only two aids that you need 
for this — one is God, and the other is a true, good woman. 
God you will have, but the woman — she must be found." 

I felt the touch on a sore spot, and so answered, pur- 
posely misunderstanding his meaning. "Yes, I have not 
to go far for her — my mother." 

"Oh yea, my boy — thank God for ber; but, Harry, 
you can't take her away from this place; her roots have 
spread here; they are matted and twined with the very 
eoil ; they run under every homestead and embrace every 
grave. She is so interwoven with this ville^e that she 
could not take root elsewhere; beside that, Harry, look at 
the clock of life — count the years, sixty-flve, sixty-six, 
sixty-seven, and the clock never stops! Her bair is all 
white now, and that snow will melt by and by, and she 
will be gone upward, God grant I may go first, Harry," 

"And I, too," said I fervently. "I could not live 
without her, " 



k 



99 MY WIFE AND I 

" You must' find one like her, Harry. It is not good 
for man to be alone ; we all need the motherly, and we 
must find it in a wife. Do yon know what I think the 
prettiest atory of courtship I ever read ! It 'b the account 
of Isaac's marriage with Rebecca, away back in the simple 
old times. You remember the ending of it, — ' And Isaac 
brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, 
and she became his wife, and Isaac was comforted after his 
mother's death,' There 'b the philosophy of it," he added; 
"it 'a the mother living again in the wife. The motherly 
instinct is in the hearts of all true women, and aooner or 
later the true wife becomes a mother to her husband ; she 
guides him, cares for him, teaches him, and catechises him 
all in the nicest way possible. Why, I 'm sure I never 
should know how to get along a day without Polly to teach 
me the requirings and forbiddenB of the commandments; 
to lecture me for going out without my muffler, and aae 
that I put on my flannels in the right time; to insist that 
I shall take something for my cough, and raise a rebellion 
to my going out when there 's a northeaster, So much 
for the body, and as for the soul-life, I believe it is woman 
who holds faith in the world — it is woman' behind the 
wall, casting oil on the fire that bums brighter and brighter, 
while the Devil pours on water; and you'll never get 
Christianity out of the earth while there 's a woman in it. 
I 'd rather have my wife's and your mother's opinion on 
the meaning of a text of Scripture than all the doctors of 
divinity, and their faith is an anchor that always holds. 
Some jackanapes or other, I read once, said every woman 
wanted a master, and was as forlorn without a husband as 
a masterless dog. It 's a great deal truer that every man 
wants a mother; men are more forlorn than maaterless 
dogs, a great deal, when no woman cares for them. Look 
at the homes single women make for themselves ; how neat, 
how cosy, how bright with the oil of gladness, and then 



AS OUTLOOK INTO LIFE 



99 



look at old bachelor dens! The fact is, women are born 

comfort- makers, and can get along by themselves a, great 
deal better than we can." 

"Well," said I, "I don't thick I ehall ever marry. Of 
course, if I could find a wotoan like my mother, it would 
be another thing. But times are altered — the women of 
this day are all for flash and ambition and money. There 
are no more such as you used to find in the old days." 

"Oh, nonsenae, Harry; don't come to me with that aort 
of talk. Bad sort for a young man — very. What I want 
to see in a young fellow is a resolution to have a good wife 
and a home of his own as quick as he can find it. The 
fiomas Catholics weren't so far out of the way when they 
said marriage was a sacrament. It is the greatest sacra- 
ment of life, and that old Church does yeoman service to 
humanity in the stand she takes for Christian marriage. I 
should call that the most prosperous state when all the 
young men and women were well mated and helping one 
another according to God's ordinancea. You may be sure, 
Harry, that you can never be a whole man without a wife." 

"Well," I said, "there 's time enough for that by and 
hy ; if I 'm predestinated I suppose it '11 come along when 
I have my fortune made." 

" Don't wait to be rich, Harry. Find a faithful, heroic 
friend that will strike hands with you, poor, and begin to 
build up your nest together, ~ that 'a the way your father 
and mother did, and who enjoyed more 1 Tijat 's the way 
your Aunt Polly and I did, and a good time we have had 
of it. There has always been the handful of meal in the 
barrel and the little oil in the cruse, and if the way we 
have always lived ia poverty, all I have to say ia, poverty 
is a pretty nice thing," 

" But, " said I bitterly, " yoii talk of golden ages. 
There are no auch women now as you found, the women 
ttow are mere effeminate dolls of fashion — all they want ia 



100 MT WIFE AND I 

• 

ease and show and luxury, and they care nothing who 
gives it — one man is as good as another if he is only 
rich." 

"Tut, tut, hoy! Don't you read your Bihlef Away 
hack in Solomon's time it 's written, ' Who can find a 
virtuous woman ? Her price is ahove ruhies. ' Are ruhies 
found without looking for them, and do diamonds lie about 
the street? Now, just attend to my words — brave men 
make noble women, and noble women make brave men. 
Be a true man first, and some day a true woman will be 
given you. Yes, a woman whose opinion of you will hold 
you up if all the world were against you, and whose * Well 
done ! ' will be a better thing to come home to than the 
senseless shouting of the world who scream for this thing 
to-day and that to-morrow.'' 

By this time the horse had turned up the lane, and my 
mother stood smiling in the door. I marked the soft 
white hair that shone like a moonlight glory round her 
head, and prayed inwardly that the heavens would spare 
her yet a little longer. 



L 



COOBIN CAHOLINK -'..IP*.': 

but a grand and severe simplicity, which in her case was 
the very perfection o£ art. 

My Uncle Ebenezer Simmons lived at a distance of 
nearly two miles from our house, but that evening, after 
tea, I announced to my mother that I was going to take a 
walk over to see Cousin Caroline. I perceived that the 
movement was extremely popular and satisfactory in the 
eyes of all the domestic circle. 

WhoBe thoughts do not travel in this direction, I won- 
der, in a email country neighborhood ? Here comes Harry 
Headerson home from college, with his laurels on hia brow, 
and here is the haadsomeBt girl in the neighborhood, a 
pattern of all the virtues. What is there to be done, 
except that they should straightway fall in love with each, 
other, and taking hold of hands walk up the Hill Difficulty 
together] I presume that no good gossip in our native 
village saw any other arrangement of our destiny as possi- 
ble or probable. 

I may just as well tell my readers first as last that we 
did not fall in love with each other, though we were the 
very best friends possible, and I spent nearly half my time 
at my uncle's house, besetting her at all hours, and having 
the best possible time in her society ; hut our relations 
were an frankly and clearly those of brother and sister as 
if wo had been children of one mother. 

For a beautiful woman, Caroline had the least of what 
one may call legitimate coquetry of any person I ever saw. 
There are some women, and women ol a high class too, 
who seem to take a natural and innocent pleasure in the 
power which their sex enables them to exercise over men, 
and who instinctively do a thousand things to captivate 
and charm one of the opposite sex, evun when they would 
greatly regret winning Ilia whole heart. If weU principled 
and instructed, they try to keep themselves under control, 
but they still do a thousand ensnaring things, for no other 









m • 



•. '//ibi. .'• MY WIFE AND I 

reason, that I can see, than that it is their nature, and 
they cannot help it. If they have less principle this fac- 
ulty becomes their available power, by which they can take 
possession of all that a man has, and use it to carry their 
own plans and purposes. 

Of this power, whatever it may be, Caroline had no- 
thing; nay, more, she despised it, and received the admira- 
tion and attentions which her beauty drew from the oppo- 
site sex with a coldness, in some instances amounting to 
incivility. 

With me she had been from the first so frankly, cheer- 
fully, and undisguisedly affectionate and kind, and with 
such a straightforward air of comradeship and a literal 
ignoring of everything sentimental, that the very ground 
of anything like love-making did not seem to exist between 
us. The last evening before I was to leave for my voyage 
to Europe I spent with her, and she gave me a curiously 
wrought traveling-case, in which there was a pocket for any 
imaginable thing that a bachelor might be supposed to 
want on his travels. 

" I wish I could go with you, '* she said to me, with an 
energy quite out of her usual line. 

"I am sure I wish you could," said I; and what with 
the natural softness of heart that a young man feels when 
he is plunging off from the safe ground of home into the 
world, and partly from the unwonted glow of 'feeling that 
came over Caroline's face as she spoke, I felt quite a rush 
of emotion, and said, as I kissed her hand, " Why did n't 
we think of this before, Caroline ? " 

"Oh, nonsense, Harry; donH you be sentimental, of all 
things," she replied briskly, withdrawing her hand. "Of 
course, I did nH mean anything niore than that I wished I 
was a young fellow like you, free to take my staff and bun- 
dle, and make my way in the great world. Why could n*t 
IbeT' 



COUam CAROLINE 



105 



" You," said I, "Caroline, you, with your beauty and 
your taienta, — I think you might be satisfied with a 
woman's lot in life." 

"A woman's lot! and what is that, prayl to sit with 
folded hands and see life drifting by — to be a mere nul- 
lity, and endure to have my good friends pat me on the 
back, and think I am a bright and shining light of content- 
ment in woman's sphere? " 

"But," said I, "you know, Caroline, that there ia al- 
ways a possibility in woman's destiny, especially a woman 
o beautiful as you are." 

"You mean marriage, .Well, perhaps if I could do as 
you can, go all over the world, examioe and search for the 

B I want, and hnd him, the case would be somewhat 
equal; but my chances are only among those who propose 

me. Now, I have read in the ' Arabian Nights ' of prin- 

laea so beautiful that men came in regiments, to seek the 
honor of their hand; but such things don't occur in our 
times in New England villages. My list for selection 
must be confined to such of the eligible men in this neigh- 
borhood as are in want of wives; men who want wives aa 
they do cooking- stoves, and make up their minds that I 
may suit them. By the bye, I have been informed already 
one who has had me under consideration, and concluded 
not to take me. Silas Boardman, I understand, has made 

) his mind, and informed his sisters of the fact, that I 
am altogether too dressy in my taste for his limited means, 
and besides that I am too free and independent; so that 
door is closed to me, you'll observe. Silas won't have 



"The conceited puppy!" said I. 

"Well, is n't that the common understanding among 
men — that all the marriageable girls in their neighborhood 
are on exhibition for their convenience T If the very first 
idea of marriage with any one of them were not so intensely 



106 MY WIFE AND I 

disagreeable to me, I would almost be willing to let eome 
of them ask me, just to hear what I could tell them. Now 
you know, Harry, I put you out of the case, because you 
are my cousin, and I no more think of you in that way 
than if you were my brother, but, frankly, I never yet saw 
the man that I could by any stretch of imagination conceive 
of my wanting, or being willing to marry ; I know no man 
that it wouldn't be an untold horror to me to be doomed 
to marry. I would rather scrub floors on my kneea for a 
living." 

"But you do see happy marriagea." 

"Oh yea, dear aoula, of courje I do, and am glad of it, 
and wonder and admire; yes, I see some happy marriagea. 
There 's Uncle Jacob and his wife, kind old souls, two 
dear old pigeons of the sanctuary! — how charmingly they 
get along I and your father and mother — they seemed one 
soul; it really was encouraging to see that people could 
live so." 

"But you mustn't be too ideal, Caroline; you mustn't 
demand too much of a man." 

"Demandl I don't demand anything of any man, I 
only want to be let alone. I don't want to wait for a hus- 
band to make me a position, I want to make one for myself ; 
I don't want to take a husband's money, I want my own. 
You have individual ideaa of life, you want to work them 
out; BO have I; you are expected and encouraged to work 
them out independently, while I am forbidden. Now, 
what would you say if somebody told you to sit down 
quietly in the domestic circle and read to your mother, 
and keep the wood split and piled, and the hearth swept, 
and diffuse a sweet perfume of domeatic goodness, like the 
violet amid its leaves, till by and by some woman should 
come and give you a fortune and position, and develop 
your aifections, — how would you like thatt Now, the 
case with me ia just here. I am, if you choose to aay it, 



COnalK CAKOLINE 



107 



BO ided and peculiar in my views that there b no reason- 
able prospect that T shall ever marry, but I want a posi- 
tion, a house and home of my own, and a sphere of inde- 
pendent action, and everybody thinks this absurd and 

)dy helps me. As long as mother was alive there was 
Bome consolation in feeling that I was everything to her. 

I soul ! she bad a hard life, and I was her greatest pride 
and comfort, but now she is gone there is nothing I do for 
my father that a good, smart housekeeper could not be 
hired to do; but you see that would cost money, and the 
money that I thus save is invested without consulting me; 

oes to buy more cocky land, when we have .already 
more than we know what to do with. I sacrifice all my 
tastes, I stunt my growth mentally and intellectually to 
this daily treadmill of house and dairy, and yet I have not 
a cent that I can call my own ; I am a servant working for 
board and clothes, and because I am a daughter I am ex- 
pected to do it cheerfully ; my only escape from tliia posi'- 
tion is to take a similar one in the family of some man to 
■whom, in addition to the superintendence of his household, 
I shall owe the personal duties of a wife, and tkat vray out 
you may know I shall never take. So you are sure to find 

ten or twenty years hence a fixture in this neighbor- 
hood, spoken of familiarly as ' old Miss Caroline Simmons, ' 
a crosB-pious old maid, held up as a warning to contuma- 
cious young beauties how they neglect their first gracious 
offer. ' Caroline was a handsome gal in her time,' they '11 
' but she was too perticklar, and now her day is over 
and she 's left an old maid. She held her head too high 
and said "So" a little too often; ye see, gals better take 
'.(heir fust chances. ' " 

"After all, cousin," I said, "though we men are all un- 
worthy sinners, yet sometimes you women do yield to 
iIDUoh persuasion, and take some one out of pity." 

"I can't do that; in fact, I have tried to do it, and 



uan't. Tliia desperate dullness, and restraint, and utter 
paralysis of progress that lies like a nightmare on one, is 
a dreadful temptation; when a nian offers jou a fortune, 
which will give you ease, leisure, and power to follow all 
your tastes and a certain independent stand, such as umnai- 
ried women cannot take, it is a great temptation." 

"But you resisted it! " 

"Well, I was sorely tried; there were things I want«d 
desperately — a splendid house in Boston, pictures, car'- 
riages, servants, — oh, I did want them; I wanted the 
£clat, too, of a rich marriage, but I couldn't; the man was 
too good a man to be trifled with; if he would only have 
been a good uncle or grandpa I would have loved him 
dearly, and been ever so devoted, kept his house beauti- 
fully, waited on him like a dutiful daughter, read to him, 
sung to him, nursed him, been the best friend in the world 
to him, hut his wife I could not be ; the very idea of it 
made the worthy creature perfectly repulsive and hateful 
to me." 

"Did you ever try to tell your father how you feelt " 

" Of what earthly use t There are people in this world 
who don't understand each other's vernacular. Papa and 
I could no more discuss any question of the inner life to- 
gether than if he spoke Chickasaw and I spoke French. 
Papa has a respect for my practical efficiency and buaineBS 
talent, and in a certain range of ideas we get on well to- 
gether. He tliiuks I have made a great mistake, and that 
there ia a crack in my head somewhere, but he says no- 
thing; his idea is that I have let slip the only chance of 
my life, hut still, as I am a great convenience at home, 
he is reconciled. 1 suppose all my friends mourn in secret 
places over me, and I should have been applauded and 
commended on all hands if I had done it; but, after all, 
wouldn't it be a great deal more honest, more womanly, 
more like a reasonable creature, for me to do just what you 



COUSIN CAROLINE 



109 



are doing, fit myself to make my own way, and make an 
independence for myaeliT Really, it isn't honest to take 
a position where you know you can't give the main thing 
asked for, and keep out aoniehody perhaps who can. My 
friend has made himself happy with a woman who perfectly 
adores him, and ought to bo ranch obliged to me that I 
did n't take him at his word ; good, silly aoul that he was." 

"But, after all, the Prince may oome — the fated knight 
— Caroline." 

"And deliver the distressed damsel!" she said, laugh- 
ing, "Well, when he comes I'll show him my 'swan's 
neat among the reeds.' Soberly, the fact is, cousin," she 
eaid, "you men don't know ua women. In the first place 
they say that there are more of ua born than there are of 
you: and that doesn't happen merely to give you a good 
number to choose from, and enable every widower to find 
a supernumerary; it is because it was meant that some 
■women should lead a life different from the domestic one. 
The womanly nature can be of use otherwhere besides in 
marri^e, in our world. To be sure, for the largest class 
of women there is nothing like marriage, and I suppose the 
usages of society are made for the majority, and exceptional 
people must n't grumble if they don't find things comforta- 
ble ; but I am persuaded that there is a work and a way 
for those who cannot marry." 

" Well, there 'a Uncle Jacob has juat been preaching to me 
that no man, can he developed fully without a wife," said I. 

"Uncle Jacob has matrimony on the brain! it 'a lucky 
be is n't a despotic Cjjar, or, I believe, he 'd marry all the 
men and women, willy nilly. I grant that the rare, real 
marriage, that occurs one time in a hundred, is the trae 
ideal state for man and woman, but it doesn't follow that 
all and everything that brings man and woman together in 
marriage is blessed, and I take my stand on St. Paul's doc- 
trine that there are both men and women called to some 



MT WIPE AHD I 

higher etate ; now, it seems to me that the numher of these 
increases with the advancement of society. Marriage re- 
quires eo close an intimacy that there must be perfect agree- 
ment and sympathy ; the lower down in the scale of being 
one is, the fewer distinctive points there are of difference 
or agreement. It is easier for John and Patrick, and 
Bridget and Katy, to find comfortahle sympathy and agree- 
ment than it ie for thoee far up in the scale of life wheie 
education has developed a thousand individual tastee and 
peculiarities. We read in history of the Rape of the 
Sabiaes, and how the women thus carried off at haphazard 
took so kindly to their husbands that they would n't be 
taken back again. Such things are only possible in the 
barbarous stages of society, when characters are very rudi- 
mentary and simple. If a aimilaT experiment were made 
on women of the cultivated clashes in our times, I fancy 
some of the men would be killed; I know one would," — 
she said, with an energetic grasp of her little fist and a 
flash out of her eyes. 

"But the ideal marriage is the thing to be sought" 
said L 

"For you, who are bom with the right to seek, it is the 
thing to be sought," she eaidj "for me, who am bom to 
wait till I am sought by exactly the right one, the chances 
are so infinitesimal that they ought not to be considered ; 
I may have a fortune left me, and die a millionaire; there 
is no actual imposaibility in that thing's happening, — it 
is a thing that has happened to people who expected it as 
little as I do, — hut it would be the height of absurdity to 
base any calculation upon it: and yet all the arrangements 
that are made about me and for me are made on the p;«- 
sumption that I am to marry, I went to Uncle Jacob and 
tried to get him to take me through a course of medical 
study, to fit me for a professional life, and it was impossi- 
ble to get him to take any serious view of it, or to believe 



COnsiN CAROLrWE 



111 



what I said; he seemed really to think I was plotting to 
upset the Bible and the Constitution, in planning for an 
independent life." 

"After all, Caroline, you must pardon me if I say that 
it does not seem poseihle that a woman like you will be 
allowed — that is, you know - — you will — well — find 
somebody — that is, yon will be less exacting by and by." 

"Exacting! why do you use that word, when I don't 
exact anything! I am not so very ideal in my tastea, I 
am only individual; I must have in myself a certain feel- 
ing towards this possible individual, and I don't find it. 
In one case certainly I asked myself why I did n't. The 
man was all he should be, I did n't object to him in the 
slightest degree as a man ; but looked on respecting the 
marriage relation, he was simply intolerable. It must be 
that I have no vocation to marry, and yet I want what any 
live woman wants; I want something of my own; I want 
a iife-work worth doing; I want a home of my own; I 
want money that I can use as I please, that I can give and 
withhold, and dispose of as absolutely mine, and not an- 
other's; and the world seems all arranged so as to hinder 
my getting it. If a man wants to get an education there 
are colleges with rich foundations, where endowments have 
been heaped up, and Bcholarahipa founded, to enable him 
to prepare for life at reasonable expense. There are no 
Buch for women, and their schools, such as they are, infi- 
nitely poorer than those given to men, involve double the 
expense. If you ask a professional man to teach you pri- 
vately, he laughs at you, compliments you, and sends you 
away with the feeling that he considers you a silly, eraoked- 
brain girl, or perhaps an unsuccessful angler in matrimonial 
waters; he seems to think that there is no use teaching 
you, because you will throw down all, and run for the first 
man that beckons to you. That sort of presumption is in- 
BufCeictble to me." 



112 MT WIFE AND I 

"Oh, well, Carrie, you know those old doctors, they 
get a certain jog-tiot wuy of arranging human life; and 
then men that are happily married are in such blise, and 
Buch wo men- worshipers that they cannot make up their 
mind that anybody they care about should not enter their 

"I do not despise their paradise," said Catolinej "I 
think everybody most happy that can enter it. I am thank- 
ful to see that they can. I am delighted and astonished 
every day at beholding the bliss and satisfaction with which 
really nice, pretty girls take up with the men they do, and 
I think it all very delightful; hut it 's rather hard on me 
that, since I can't have that, I mustn't have anything 
else." 

"After all, Caroline, is not your dissatisfaction with the 
laws of nature ] " 

"Hot exactly; I won't quarrel with the will that made 
me a woman, not in my deepest heart. Neither being a 
woman do I want to be unwomanly. I would not, if I 
could, do as George Sand did, put on men's clothes and 
live a man's life. Anything of that sort in a woman ie 
very repulsive and disgusting to me. At the same time, 
1 do think that the customs and laws of society might he 
modified so as to give to women who do not choose to 
marry, independent position and means of securing home 
and fortune. Marriage never ought to be entered on as 
a means of support, It seems to me that our sex are 
enough weighted by nature, and that therefore all the laws 
and institutions of society ought to act in just the contrary 
direction, and tend to hold us up — to widen our way, to 
r efforts, because we are the weaker party, and 
[ it most. The world is now arranged for the strong 
and I think it ought to be rearranged for the weak." 

I paused, and pondered all that she had been aaf in 

"My mother " — It 

tj 



CO0BIN CAROLINE 



113 



"Now, please don't quote your mother to me, I know 
what she would say. If two angels were sent down from 
heaven, the one to govern an empire, and the other to 
sweep the streete, they would not wish to change with each 
other; it is perhaps true. 

"But then, you see, that is only possible because they 
are angels. Your mother has got up eomewheie into that 
region, hut I am down iii the low lands, and must do the 
heat I can on my plane. I can conceive of those moral 
heights where one thing is just as agreeable as another, but 
I have not yet reached them. Besides, you know Jacob 
wrestled with hia angel, and was commended for it; and 
I think we ought to satisfy ourselves by good, strong effort 
that our lot is of God. If we really cannot help ourselves, 
we may be resigned to it as his will." 

"Caroline," I said, "if you might have exactly what 
you want, what would it have been! " 

"In the first place, then, exactly the same education 
with my brothers. I hear of colleges now, somewhere far 
out West, where a brother and sister may go through the 
aame course together; that would have suited me. I am 
impatient of ha if -education, I am by nature very thorough 
and exact. I want to be sure of doing whatever 1 under- 
take as well as it can be done. I don't want to be flat- 
tered and petted for pretty ignorance. I don't want to be 
tolerated in any halfway, slovenly work of any kind be- 
cause I am a woman. When I have a thorough general 
education, I then want to make professional studies. I have 
a great aptitude for medicine. I have a natural turn for 
the care of sick, and am now sent for far and near as one 
of the best advisers and watchers in case of sickness. In 
that profession I don't doubt I might do great good, ho 
very happy, have a cheerful home of my own, and a plea- 
sant life-work; but I don't want to enter it half taught. 
I want to be able to do as good work u any man'e; to he 



held to the eame account, and receive only what I can 
fairly win." 

"But, Caroline, a man's Ufa includes ao much drudgery," 

"And doeB not mine I Do you suppose that the care of 
all the house and dairy, the oversight of all niy father's 
home affairs, is no drudgery 1 Much of it is done with 
my own hands, becauee no other work than mine can con- 
tent me. But when you and I went to school together, it 
waa just so : you know I worked out my own problems and 
made my own investigations. Now, all that is laid aside; 
at least, all my efforts are so haphazard and painfully in- 
complete that it is discouraging to me." 

"But would not your father consent) " 

" My father is a man wedded to the past, and set against 
every change in ideas. I have tried to get his consent to 
let me go and study, and prepare myself to do something 
worth doing, but he is perfectly immovable. He saya I 
know more now than half the women, and a great deal too 
much for my good, and that he cannot spare me. At 
twenty-one he makes no further claim on any of my bro- 
thers; their minority comes to an end at a certain period 

We were walking in the moonlight up and down under 
the trees by the house. Caroline suddenly stopped. 

"CouHJn," she said, "if you succeed, if you get to be 
what I hope you will, — high in the world, a prosperous 
editor, — speak for the dumb, for us whose lives bum them- 
selves out into white ashes in silence and repression." 

"I will," I said. 

"You will write to me; I shall rejoice to hear of the 
world through you; and I shall rejoice in your success," 
she added. 

"Caroline," I said, "do you give up entirely wrestling 
with the angeH" 

"No; if I did, I should not keep up, I have bppt 



COUSIN CAROLINE 115 

from year to year that something may happen to bring 
things to my wishes; that I may obtain a hearing with 
papa ; that his sense of justice may be aroused ; that I may 
get Uncle Jacob to do something besides recite verses and 
compliment me; that your mother may speak for me.'' 

" You have never told your heart to my mother 1 " 

"No; I am very reticent, and these adoring wives have 
but one recipe for all our troubles." 

"I think, Caroline, that hers is a wide, free nature, 
that takes views above the ordinary level of things, and 
that she would understand and might work for you. Tell 
her what you have been telling me.'' 

"You may, if you please. I will talk with her after- 
ward; perhaps she will do something for me.^^ 



CHAFFER X 

WHY don't you take HEB 

The next day I spoke to my Uncle Jacob of Caroline's 
desire to study, and said that some way ought to be pro- 
vided for taking her out of her present confined limits. 

He looked at me with a shrewd, quizzical expression, 
and said: "Providence generally opens a way out for girls 
as handsome as she is. Caroline is a little restless just at 
present, and so is getting some of these modern strong- 
minded notions into her head. The fact is, that our region 
is a little too much out of the world; there is nobody 
around here, probably, that she would think a suitable 
match for her. Caroline ought to visit, now, and cnuse 
about a little in some of the watering-places next summer, 
and be seen. There are few girls with a finer air, or more 
sure to make a sensation. I fancy she would soon find the 
right sphere under these circumstances." 

" But does it not occur to you, uncle, that the very idea 
of going out into the world, seeking to attract and fall in 
the way of offers of marriage, is one from which such a 
spirit as Caroline's must revolt? Is there not something 
essentially unwomanly in it — something humiliating ? I 
know, myself, that she is too proud, too justly self-respect- 
ing, to do it. And why should a superior woman be con- 
demned to smother her whole nature, to bind down all her 
faculties, and wait for occupation in a sphere which it is 
unwomanly to seek directly, and unwomanly to accept 
when offered to her, unless offered by the one of a thou- 
Hand for whom she can ' 'qrtain feeling ? *' 



WHY DON'T YOU TAKE HKR 



117 



"To tell the truth," said my uncle, looking at me again, 
"I always thought in my heart that Caroline was just the 
proper person for you — just the woman you need ■— brave, 
strong, and yet lovely; and I don't aee any objection in 
the way of i/our taking het." 

Elderly people of a benevolent turn often get a matter- 
of-fact way of arranging the affairs of their juniors that is 
gufgciently amusing. My uncle spoke with a confidential 
air of good faith of my taking Caroline as if she had been 
a lot of land up for sale. Seeing my look of blank embar- 
rassment, he went ou : — 

"Tou perhaps think the relationship an objection, but 
I have my own views on that subject. The only objection 
to the iutermaniage of cousins is one that depends entirely 
on similarity of race peculiarities. Sometimes cousins, 
inheriting each from difTerent races, are physiologically as 
much of diverse blood as if their parents had not been re- 
lated, and in that case there ja n't the alighteat objection 
to marriage. Now, Caroline, though her father is your 
mother's brother, inherits evidently the Selwyn blood. 
She *B all her mother, or rather her grandmother, who was 
a celebrated beauty. Caroline is a Selwyn, every inch, and 
you are as free to marry her as any woman you can meet," 

"You talk as if she were a golden apple, that I had 
nothing to do but reach forth my hand to pick," said I. 
" Did it never occur to you that I could n't take her if I 
were to try I " 

"Well, I don't know," said Uncle Jacob, looking me 
over in a manner which indicated a complimentary opinion. 
"I 'm not so sure of that. She 's not in the way of seeing 
many men superior to you." 

" And suppose that she were that sort of woman who 
did not wish to marry at all ! " said I. 

My uncle looked quizzical, and said, "I doubt the exist- 
ence of that species." 



"It appears to me," eaid I, "that Caroline is by nature 
eo much more Utted for ttie life of a scholar than tlmt 
of an ordinary domestic woman, that nothing but a most 
absorbing and extraordinary anjount of personal affection 
would ever make the routine of domestic life agreeable to 
her. She is vtry fastidious and individual in her tastes, 
too, and the probabilities of her finding the person whom 
she could love in this manner are very Rmall. Now, it 
appears to me that the taking for granted that all women, 
without respect to taste or temperament, must have uo 
sphere or opening for their faculties except domestic life 
is as great an absurdity in our modern civilization as the 
atupid custom of half-civilized nations, by which every 
son, no matter what his character, is obliged to confine 
himself to the trade of his father. I should have felt it a 
hardship to be condemned always to he a shoemaker if my 
father had been one," 

"Nay," said my uncle, "the cases are not parallel. The 
domestic sphere of wife and mother to which woman is 
called is divine and godlike; it is sacred and solemn, and 
no woman can go higher than that, and anything else to 
which she devotes herself falls infinitely below it." 

"Well, then," said I, "let me use another simile. My 
father was a minister, and I reverence and almost adore 
the ideal of such a minister, and such a ministry as his 
was. Yet it would be an oppression on me to constrain 
me to enter into it. I am not adapted to it, or fitted for 
it, I should make a failure in it, while I might succeed 
in a lower sphere. Now, it seems to me that just as no 
one should enter the ministry as a means of support or 
worldly position, but wholly from a divine enthusiasm, so 
no woman should enter marriage for provision, or station, 
or support; but simply and only from the most purely 
personal affection. And my theory of life would be, to 
have society so arranged that independent woman gfaal] 



WHY don't YOP take HER 



II! 



have every facility for developing her mind and perfecting 
herself that independent man has, and every opportunity 
in society for acquiring and holding property, for aecuring 
influence, and position, and fame, just as man can. If 
laws are to make any dilference between the two sexes, 
they ought to help, and not to hinder the weaker party. 
Then, I think, a man might feel that his wife came to him 
from the purest and highest kind of love — not driven to 
him aa a refuge, not compelled to take him as a dernier 
ressort, now struggling and striving to bring her mind to 
him, because she miist marry somebody, — but choosing 
him intelligently and freely, because he is the one more to 
her than all the world beside." 

"Well," said my uncle regretfully, "of coarse I doa't 
want to be a match-maker, but I did hope that you and 
Caroline would be bo agi'eed; and I think now, that if you 
would try, you might put these notions out of her head, 
and put yourself in their place." 

"And what if I had tried, and become certain that it 
waa of no use J " 

"You don't say she has refused you! " said my uncle, 
with a start. 

"No, indeed!" said I. "Caroline is one of those wo- 
men whose whole manner keeps ofT entirely all approaches 
of that kind. You may rely upon it, uncle, that while 
she loves me as frankly and truly and honestly as ever 
sifiter loved a brother, yet I am perfectly convinced that it 
is mainly because I have kept myself clear of any miaim- 
derstanding of her noble frankness, or any presumption 
founded upon it. Her love to me is honest comradeship, 
Just such as I might have from a college mate, and there is 
not the least danger of its sliding into anything else. 
There may be an Endymion to this Diana, but it certainly 
won't be Harry Henderson." 

"H'ml " said my uncle, "Well, I 'm afraid then that 




^ 



she never will manj, and you certainly must grant that a 
woman unmarried cemains forever undeveloped and incom- 

"No mora than a man," said 1. "A man who never 
becomes a father is incomplete in one great resemblance to 
the Divine Being. Yet there have been men with the 
element of fatherhood more largely developed in celibacy 
than is usual in marriage. There was Fenelon, for in- 
stance, who was married to humanity. Every human 
being that he met held the place of a child iii his heart. 
Ko individual experience of fatherhood could make such 
men as he more fatherly. And in like manner there are 
women with more natural motherhood than mauy mothers. 
Such ara to be found in the sisterhoods that gather to- 
gether lost and orphan children, aud are their mothers in 
God. There are natures who do not need the development 
of marriage; they know Lttstinctively all it can teach them. 
But they are found only in the rarest and highest regions." 

"Well," said my uncle, "for every kind of existence in 
creation God has made a mate, and the eagles that live on 
mountain-tops, and fly toward the sun, have still their 
kindred eagles. Now, I think, for my part, that if Fene- 
lon had married Madame Guyon, he would have had a 
richer and a happier life of it, and she would have gone off 
into fewer vagaries, and they would have left the Church 
some splendid children, who might, perhaps, have been 
born without total depravity. You see, these perfected 
specimens owe it to humanity to perpetuate their kind." 

"Well," said I, "let them do it by spiritual fatherhood 
and motherhood. St. Paul speaks often of his converts as 
those begotten of him — the children of his soul; a thou- 
sandfold more of them there were than there could have 
been if he had weighted himself with the care of an indi- 
vidual family. Think of the spiritual children of Plato 
and St. Augustine I " 




WHY don't YOC take HER 



121 



"Thia may be all very flne, youngster," aaid my uncle, 
"hut very exceptional; yet for all that, I should be sorry 
to see a fine woman like Caroline withering into an old 

"She certainly will," said T, "nuleaa you and mother 
stretch forth your hands and give her liberty to seek her 
destiny in the mode in which nature inclines ber. Tou 
will never get her to go husband- hunting. Tbe mere idea 
suggested to her of exhibiting her cbarms in places of re- 
sort, in the vague hope of being chosen, would be sufficient 
to keep her out of society. She has one of those indepen- 
dent natures to which it is just as necessary for happiness 
that she should make her own way, and just as irksome to 
depend on others, as it is for most young men. She has 
a fine philosophic mind, great powers of acquisition, a euri- 
osity for scientific research ; and her desire is to fit herself 
for a physician, — a sphere perfectly womanly, and in 
which the motherly nature of woman can be moat beauti- 
fully developed. Now, help her with your knowledge 
through the introductory stages of study, and use your 
infiuencQ afterward to get her father to give her wider 



"Well, the fact is," said my uncle, "Caroline is a 
splendid nurse ; she has great physical strength and endur- 
ance, great courage and presence of mind, and a wonderful 
power of consoling and comforting sick people. She has 
borrowed some of my hooka, and seemed to show a consid- 
erable acuteness in her remarks on them. But somehow 
the idea that a lovely young woman should devote herself 
to medicine has seemed to me a great waste, and I never 
seriously encouraged it." 

"Depend apon it," said T, "Caroline is a woman who 
will become more charming in proportion as she moves 
more thoroughly and perfectly in the sphere for which 
nature has adapted hei. Keep a great, stately, white swan 



k 



lit 



MY WIFK AND I 



fihut up in a barnyard and she has an ungainly gait, be- 
comes moroBe, and loses Ler beautiful feathers; but set her 
free to glide off into her native element and all ia harmo- 
nious and beautiful. A superior woman, gifted with per- 
sonal attractions, who is forgetting herself in the enthusi- 
asm of some high calling or profesgion, never becomee an 
old maid; she does not wither; she advances as life goea 
on, and often keeps her charms longer than the matron 
exhausted by family cares and motherhood. A charming 
woman, fully and happily settled and employed in a life- 
■work which is all in all to her, is far more likely to be 
attractive and to be sought than one who enters the ranks 
of the fashionable waiters on Providence." 

" Well, well, " said my uncle, " I '11 think of it. The 
fact is, we fellows of threescore ought to be knocked on 
the head peaceably. We have the bother of being progres- 
sive all through our youth, and by the time we get some- 
thing settled, up comes your next generation and begins 
kicking it all over. It 's too bad to demolish the house we 
spend our youth in building just when we want rest, and 
don't want the fatigue of building over." 

"For that matter," said I, "the modem ideas of wo- 
man's sphere were all thought out and expressed in the 
Greek mythology ages and ages ago. The Greeks didn't 
fit every woman to one type. There was their pretty, 
plump little Aphrodite, and their godlike Venus di Milo. 
There was Diana, the woman of cold, bright, pure physi- 
cal organization, — independent, free, vigorous. There 
was Minerva, the impersonation of the purely intellectual 
woman, who neither wished nor sought marriage. There 
was Juno, the housekeeper and domestic queen, and Ceres, 
the bread-giver and provider. In short, the Greeks con- 
ceived a variety of spheres of womanhood; but we, in mod- 
em times, have reduced alt to one — the vine that twines, 
and the violet hid in the leaves; as if the Victoria Kegia 



WHY don't TOU take HER 



12S 



had n't as good a. right to grow as the daisy, and as if there 
were not female oaks and pines aa well as male ! " 

"Well, after all," he said, "the prevalent type of sex 
through nature ia that of strength for man and dependence 
for woman." 

"Nay," said I; "if you appeal to nature in this matter 
of sex, there is the female element in grand and powerful 
forms, as well aa in gentle and dependent ones. The she 
lion and tiger are more terrible and uotaraahle than the 
male. The Greek mythology was a perfect reflection of 
nature, and clothed woman with majesty and power as well 
as with grace ; how splendid those descriptions of Homer 
are, where Minerva, clad in celestial armor, leads the 
forces of the Greeks to battle 1 What vigor there is in 
their imperaonation of the Diana; the woman strong in 
herself, scorning physical passion, and terrihle to approach 
in the radiant majesty of her beauty, striking with death 
the vulgar curiosity that dared to profane her sanctuary ! 
That was the ideal of a woman, self-auflicieut, victorious, 
and capable of a grand, free, proud life of her own, not 
needing to depend upon man. The Greeks never would 
have imagined such goddesses if they had not seen such 
women, and our modern civilization is imf)erfect if it does 
not provide a place and sphere for such types of woman- 
hood. It takes all sorts of people to make up a world, 
and there ought to be provision, toleration, and free course 
for all sorts." 

"Well, youngster," said my uncle, "I think you'll 
write tolerable leaders for some radical paper, one of these 
days, hut you fellowa that want to get into the chariot of 
the Bun and drive it, had hetter think a little before you 
set the world on fire. Aa for your Diana, I thank Heaven 
ehe isn't my wife, and I think it would be pretty cold 
picking with your Minerva." 

"Permit me to say, uncle, that in this ' latter-day giory' 



isi 



MY WIFB AND I 



that is coming, men have got to leant to judge women by 
some other stBndard than what would make good wives /or 
them., and acknowledge sometimes a femininity existing in 
and for itself. As there is a possible manhood complete 
without woman, so there is a possible womanhood complete 
without man." 

" That 's not the Christian idea, " said my uncle. 

"Pardon me," I replied, "but I believe it is exactly 
what St. Paul meant when be apoke of the state of celi- 
bacy, in devotion to the higher spiritual life, as being a 
higher state for some men and women than marriage." 

"You are on dangerous ground there," said my undo; 
"you will tun right into monastic absurdity." 

"High grounds are always dangerous grounds," said I, 
"full of pitfalls and precipices, yet the Iiotd has persisted 
in making mountains, precipices, pitfalls, and all, and 
being made they may as well be explored, even at the risk 
of breaking one's neck. We may as well look every ques- 
tion in the face, and run every inquiry to its ultimate." 

"Go it then," said my uncle, "and joy go with you; 
the chariot of the sun is the place for a prospect! Up 
with you into it, my boy, that kind of driving is interest- 
ing; in fact, when I was young, I should have liked it 
myself, but if you don't want to kick up as great a bob- 
bery as Phaeton did, you 'd better mind his father's advice; 
spare the whip, and use the reins with those fiery horses 
of the future." 

"But, now," said I, "as the final result of all this, will 
you help Caroline 1 " 

"Yes, I will; soberly and seriously, I will. I'll drive 
over there and have a little talk with the girl as soon as 
you 're gone." 

"And, uncle," said I, "if you wish to gain influence 
with her, don't flatter nor eompliment; examine her, and 
appoint her tasks exactly ae you would those of a yoting 



WHY DON'T YOU TAKE HEE 



125 



man in similar circumstaiices. You will please her beat 
80 ; ske ia ready to do work and make eerious studies; 
ehe is of a thorough, earnest nature, and will do credit to 
your teaching," 

"What a pity she wasn't horn a boy," said my uncle 
under his hreatb. 

"Well, let you and me do what we can," said 1, "to 
bring in sucb a state of things in this world that it shall 
no longer be said of any woman that it was a pity not to 
have been bom a man." 

Subsequently I spoke to my mother on the same subject, 
and gave her an account of my interview with Caroline. 

I think that my mother, in her own secret heart, had 
cherished very much the same hopes for me that had been 
expressed by Uncle Jacob. Caroline was an uncommon 
person, the star of the little secluded neighborhood, and 
my mother had seen enough of her to know that, though 
principally absorbed in the requirements of a very hard 
domestic sphere, she possessed an uncommon character and 
great capabilities. Between her and my mother, however, 
there had been that sOeiice which often exists between two 
natures, both sensitive and both reticent, who seem to act 
as non-conductors to each other. Caroline stood a little In 
awe of the moral and religious force of my mother, and 
mj mother was a little chilled by the keen intellectualism 
of Caroline. 

There are people that cannot understand each other with- 
out an interpreter, and it is not nnfrequently easier for 
men and women to speak confidentially to each other than 
to their own sex. There are certain aspects in which each 
sex ia sure of more comprehension than from its own. I 
served, in this case, aa the connecting wire of the galvanic 
battery to pass the spark of sympathetic comprehension 
between these two natures. 

My mother was one of those women naturally timid, 



reticent, retiring, encompaBsed by physical difBdenoe as 
with a mantle — so sensitive that, even in an argumeEt 
with me, the blood would flush into her cheeks — yet, she 
had withal that deep, brooding, philosophical nature, which 
revolves all things silently, and with intensest interest, and 
comes to perfectly independent conclusions in the irrespon- 
sible liberty of solitude. How many times has this great 
noisy world been looked out on, and silently judged, by 
these quiet, thoughtful women of the Virgin Mary type, 
who have never uttered their Magnificat till they uttered 
it beyond the veil ! My mother seemed to be a woman in 
whom religious faith had risen to that amount of certainty 
and security, that she feared no kind of investigation or 
discussion, and had no prejudices or passionate preferences. 
Thus she read the works of the modern physical philosophi- 
cal school with a tranquil curiosity and a patient analysis, 
apparently enjoying every well-turned expression, and re- 
ceiving with interest, and weighing with deliberation, every 
record of experiments and every investigation of facts. 
Her faith tn her religion was so perfect that she could 
afford all these explorations, no more expecting her Chris- 
tian hopes to fall, through any discoveries of modern sci- 
ence, than she expected the sun to cease shining on account 
of the contradictory theories of astronomers. They who 
have lived in communion with God have a mode of evi- 
dence unknown to philosophers ; a knowledge at first hand. 
In the same manner the wideness of Christian charity 
gave my mother a most catholic tolerance for natures un- 
like her own. 

"I have always believed in the doctrine of vocations," 
she said, as she listened to me; "it is one of those points 
where the Romish Church has shown a superior good sense 
in discovering and making a place for every kind of na- 
ture. " 

"Caroline hae been afraid to confide in you, lest you 




WHT don't TOU take HER 



127 



Bhoiild think her struggles to rise above her deEtiny, and 
her dissatisfaction with it, irreligious. " 

"Far from it," said my mother; "I wholly sympathize 
■with her; people don't realize what it is to starve faculties; 
they understand physical starvation, hut the slow fainting 
and dying of desires and capabilities for want of anything 
to feed upon, the withering of powers for want of exercise, 
is what they do not understand. This is what Caroline is 
condemned to, by the fixed will of her father, and whether 
any mortal can prevail with him, I don't know." 

" ToK might, dear mother, I am sure." 

"I doubt it; he has a manner that freeeeB me. I think 
in hiB bard, silent, interior way, he loves me, but any ar- 
gument addressed to him, any direct attempt to change his 
opinions and purpose, only makes him harder," 

"Would it not, then, be her right to choose her course 
without his consent — and against iti" My mother sat 
■with her blue eyes looking thoughtfully before her, 

"There is no point," ahe said slowly, "that requires 
more careful handling, to discriminate right from wrong, 
than the limits of self-sacrifice. To a certain extent it is 
a, virtue, and the noblest one, hut there are eights of the 
individual that ought not to be aacrihced; our own happi- 
ness has its Just place, and I cannot see it to be more right 
to suSer injustice to one's self than to another, if one can 
help it. The individual right of self-assertion of child 
against parent is like the right of revolution in the State, 
a difficult one to define, yet a real one. It aeema to me 
that one owes it to God, and to the world, to become all 
that one can be, and to do all that one can do, and that a 
blind, unreasoning authority that forbids this ia to be re- 
sisted by a higher law. If I would help another person 
to escape from an unreasoning tyranny, I ought to do as 
much for myself." 

"And don't you think," said I, "that the silent self- 



128 MT WIFE AND 1 

abnegation of eome fine natuiee haa done bann by ii 

ing in tboee around tbem the babits of tyraimy and eelfieb- 

" Undoubtedly," said my motber, "many wives make 
their husbands bad Christians, and really stand in the way 
of their salvation, by a wealt, fond subraission, and a sort 
of morbid passion for se If- sacritice — really generous and 
noble men are often tempted to fatal babita of selfishness 
in this way." 

"Then would it not be better for Caroline to summon 
courage to tell her father exactly bow she feels and views 
his course and hers 1 " 

"He has a habit," said my mother, "of cutting short 
any communication from bis children that doesn't please 
him, by bringing down his hand abruptly and saying, ' No 
more of that, I don't want to hear it." "With me be ac- 
complishes the same hy abruptly leaving the room. The 
fact is," said my mother, after a pause, "I more than sus- 
pect that he set bis foot on something really vital to Caro- 
line's life, years ago, when she waa quite young." 

"You mean an attachment! " 

"Yes, I had hoped that it bad been outgrown or Buper- 
aededi probably it may be, but I think she is one of the 
sort in which such an experience often destroys all chance 
for any other to come after it." 

" Were you told of this 1 " 

"I discovered it by an accident, no matter bow. I was 
not told, and I know very little, yet enough to enable me 
to admire the vigor with which ehe haa made the most of 
life, the cheerfulness and thoroughness with wliich she has 
accepted bard duties. Well," she added, after a pause, 
" I will talk with Caroline, and we will see what can 
done, and then," she added, "we can carry the matter to 
a higher One, who understands all, and holds all 
hands. " 




WHY don't you take HEB 129 

My mother spoke with a bright, assured face of this 
resort^ sacred in every emergency. 

This was the last night of my stay at home; the next 
day I was to start for my ship to go to Europe. I sat up 
late writing to Caroline, and left the letter in my mother's 
hands. 



CHAPTEE XI 

I LAT THE FIB8T STONB IK HT FOXTITDATIOV 

My story now opens in New York, whither I am come 
to seek my fortune as a maker and seller of the invisible 
fabrics of the brain. 

During my year in Europe I had done my best to make 
myself known at the workshops of different literary periodi- 
cals, as a fabricator of these airy wares. I tried all sorts 
and sizes of articles, from grave to gay, from lively to 
severe, sowing them broadcast in various papers, without 
regard to pecuniary profit, and the consequence was that I 
came back to New York as a writer favorably known, who 
had made something of a position. To be sure, my foot 
was on the lowest round of the ladder, but it was on the 
ladder, and I meant to climb. 

" To climb — to what 1 " In the answer a man gives to 
that question lies the whole character of his life-work. If 
to climb be merely to gain a name, and a competence, a 
home, a wife, and children, with the means of keeping 
them in ease and comfort, the question, though beset with 
difficulties of practical performance, is comparatively sim- 
ple. But if in addition to this a man is to build himself 
up after an ideal standard, as carefully as if he were a tem- 
ple to stand for eternity ; if he is to lend a hand to help 
that great living temple which God is perfecting in human 
society, the question becomes more complicated stilL 

I fear some of ray fair readers are by this time impatient 
to see something of "my wife." Let me tell them for 
their comfort that at this moment, when I entered New 



I LAY THE FIRST 9T0NE IN UY FOUHDATIOH 131 

Tork on a drizzly, lonesome December evening, she was 
there, fair as a star, though I knew it not. The same may 
be true of you, young man. If you are ever to be mar- 
ried, your wife ia probably now in the world; some house 
holds her, and there are mortal eyes at this hoiur to whom 
her Uneamenta are as familiar as they are unknown to you. 
So much for the doctrine of predestination. 

But at this hour that I speak of, though the lady in 
question was a living and blessed fact, and though she 
looked on the same stars, and hieathed the same air, and 
trod daily the same sidewalk with myself, I was not, as I 
perceive, any the wiser or better for it at this particular 
period of my existence. In fact, though she was in a large 
part the unperceived spring and motive of all that I did, 
yat at thia particular time I was so busy in adjusting the 
material foundations of my life that the ideas of marrying 
and giving in marriage were never less immediately in my 
thoughts. I came into New York a stranger. I knew 
nobody personally, and I had no time for visiting. 

I had been, in the course of my wanderings, in many 
cities. I had lingered in Paris, Bome, Florence, and 
Naples, and, with the exception of London, I never found 
a place so difhcult to breathe the breath of any ideality, or 
any enthusiasm, or exaltation of any description, as Kew 
York. London, with its ponderous gloom, its sullen, 
mammoth, aristocratic shadows, seems to benumb, and 
chill, and freeze the soul; but New York impressed me 
like a great hot furnace, where twig, spray, and flower 
wither in a moment, and the little birds flying over drop 
down dead. My first impulse in life there was to cover, 
and conceal, and hide ia the deepiest and most remote cav- 

LS of my heart anything that was sacred, and delicate, 
and tender, lest the flame should scorch it. Balzac in hia 
epigrammatic manner has characterized New York as the 
eity where there is "neither faith, hope, nor charity," and, 



B never oame here, I suppose be muat have taken hia 
imprewiona from the descriptions of unfortunate eompa- 
triotB, who have lauded strangers itnd heen precipitated 
into the very rush and whirl of its grinding BelSehnese, 
Btid its desperate don't-care manner of doing things. There 
is abundance of Belfiahness and hardness in Paris, but it 
is concealed under a veil of ideality. The city wooes you 
like a home, it gives you picture-galleries, fountains, gar- 
dens, and grottoes, and a good-natured lounging population, 
who have nothing to do but make themselves agreeable. 

I must confess that my first emotion in making my way 
about the streets of New York, before I had associated 
them with any intimacy or acquaintances, was a vague sort 
of terror, such as one would feel at being jostled among 
cannibals, who on a reasonable provocation wouldn't hesi- 
tate to skin him and pick his bones. There was such a 
driving, merciless, fierce " take- care- of-yourself, and devil 
take the hindmost " air, even to the drays and omnibuses 
and hackmen, that I had somewhat the feeling of being in 
an unregulated menagerie, not knowing at what moment 
some wild beast might spring upon me. As I became more 
acquainted in the circles centring around the different 
publications, I felt an acrid, eager, nipping ail, in which 
it appeared to me that everybody had put on defensive 
armor in regard to his own innermost and most precious 
feelings, and like the lobster, armed himself with claws to 
seize and to tear that which came in his way, The rivalry 
between great literary organs was so intense, and the com- 
petition so vivid, that the offering of any flower of fancy 
or feeling to any of them seemed about as absurd as if 
a man should offer a tea-rose bud to the bawling, shout- 
ing hackmen that shake their whips and scream at the 
landing. 

Everything in life and death, and time and eternity, 
whether high as heaven or deep as hell, seemed to ba 



I LAY THE FIRST STONK IN MY FOUNDATION 183 

looked upon only as subject-matter for advertisement and 
material for running a paper. Hand out your wares! ad- 
yertiae tbeni, and see what they will bring seemed to be 
tbe only law of production, at whose behest the most 
delicate webs and traceries of fancy, the moHt solemn and 
tender mysteries of feeling, the most awful of religious 
emotions, came to have a trademark and market value I 
In short. New York is the great buainesH mart, the Vanity 
Fair of the world, where everything is puehed by advertis- 
ing and competition, not even excepting the great moral 
enterprise of bringing in the millennium; and in the first 
blast and blare of its busy, noisy publicity and activity I 
felt my inner spirits shrink and tremble with dismay. 
Even the religion of this great emporium bears the deep 
impress of the trademark which calendars its financial value. 

I could not but think what the eweet and retiring Gali- 
lean, who in the old days vfaa weary and worn with the 
rush of crowds in simple old Palestine, muRt think if he 
looks down now on the way in which his religion is adver- 
tised and pushed in modem society. Certain it is, if it he 
the kingdom of God that is coming in our times, it is 
coming with very great observation, and people have long 
eince forgotten that they are not to say "Lo, here!" and 
"Lo, there!" since that is precisely what a large part of 
the world are getting their living by doing. 

These ideas I must confess bore with great weight on 
my mind, aa I had just parted from my mother, whose laat 
TTords were that whatever else I did, and whether I gained 
anything for this life or not, she trusted that I would tire 
an humble, self-denying. Christian life. I must own that 
for the first few weeks of looking into the interior maiu^e- 
ment of literary life in Hew York, the idea at timea often 
seemed to me really ludicrous. To be humble, yet to seek 
socceas in society where it is the first dntj to crow from 
morning till night, and to praise, and vaunt, and glorify, 



at the top of one's lungs, one's own party, or paper, or 
magazine, seemed to me sufficiently amusing. However, 
in conformity with a solemn promise made to my mother, 
I lost no time in uniting myself with a Christian body, of 
my father's own denomination, and presented a letter from 
the church in Highland to the brethren of the Bethany 
Church. 

And here I will say that for a young man who wants 
shelter and nourishment and shade for the development of 
his fine moral senaihilities, a breakwater to keep the waves 
of materialism from dashing over and drowning hie higher 
life, there is nothing better, as yet to be found, than a 
union with some one of the many bodies of differing names 
and denominations calling themselves Christian churches. 
A Christian church, according to the very beat definition 
of the name ever yet given, is a congregation of faithful 
men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the 
sacraments duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance; 
and making due allowance for all the ignorance, and preju- 
dice, and miatakea, and even the willful hypocrisy, which, 
as human nature is, must always exist in such connections, 
I must say that I think these churches are the best form 
of social moral culture yet invented, and not to be dis- 
pensed with till something more fully answering the pur- 
pose has been tested for as long a time as they. 

These are caravans that cross the hot and weary sands 
of life, and while there may he wraaigling and undesirable 
administration at times within them, yet, after all, the 
pilgrim that undertakes alone is but a speck in the wide 
desert, too often blown away, and withering like the leaf 
before the wind. 

The great congregation of the Bethany on Sabbath days, 
all standing up together and joining in mighty hymn-sing- 
ing, though all were outwardly unknown to i 
to thrill my heart with a. sense of solemn companionship, 




I LAY THE FIRBT STONE IN MY FOUNDATIOIT 135 

in my earliest and moat aacred religious aasociatioiiB. It 
was a coagregation largely made iip of yoiuig men, who 
like myself were strangers, away from lionie and friends, 
and whose hearts, touched and warmed by the familiar 
■ounds, seemed to send forth magnetic odors like the in- 
terlocked pine-trees under the warm sunshine of a June 
day. 

I have long felt that he who would work his brain for 
a living, without premature wear upon the organ, must 
have Sunday placed as a sacred barrier of entire oblivion, 
BO far as possible, of the course of his week-day cares. 
And what oblivion can be more complete than to rise on 
the wings of religious ordinance into the region of those 
diviner faculties by which man recogniees his heirship to 
allthat is in God? 

In like manner I found an oasis in the hot and hurried 
course of my week-day life, by dropping in to the weekly 
prayer meeting. The large, bright, pleasant room seemed 
BO social and homelike, the rows of cheerful, well-dressed, 
thoughtful people seemed, even before I knew one of 
them, fatherly, motherly, brotherly, and sisterly, as they 
joined with the piano in familiar hymn-singing, while the 
pastor sat among them as a father in his family, and easy 
social conversation went on with regard to the various 
methods and aspects of the practical religious life. 

To me, a stranger, and naturally shy and undemonstra- 
tive, this socialism was in the highest degree warming and 
inspiring. I do not mean to set the praise of this church 
above that of a hundred others, with which I might have 
become connected, but I will say that here I met the types 
of some of those good old-fashioned Christiana that Haw- 
thorne celebrates in his "Celestial Railroad," under the 
name of Messrs. "Stick to the Eight" and "Foot it to 
Heaven," men better known among the poor and afflicted 
than in fashionable or literary circles, men who, without 



186 



MT WITS AND I 



troubling their heads about much speculation, are footing 
it to heaveu on the old time-worn, narrow way, and carry- 
ing with them as many as they can induce to go. 

Having thus provided against being drawn down and 
utterly swamped in the breud-and -subsistence stru^Ie that 
was before me, 1 sought to gain a position in conaectiou 
with some paper in New York. I had offers under con- 
sideration from several of them. The conductois of the 
"Moral Spouting Horn " bod conversed with me touching 
their projects, and I had also been furnishing letters for 
the "Great Democracy," and one of tbe proprietors bad 
invited me to a private dinner, I suppose for the purpose 
of looking me over and trying my paces before he con- 
cluded to purchase me. 

Mr. Goldstick was a florid, middle-aged man, with a 
slightly bald head, an easy portliness of manner, and that 
air of comfortable patron^e which men who are up in the 
world sometimes carry towards young aspirants. It was 
his policy and his way to put himself at once on a footing 
of equality with them, easy, jolly, and free; justly think- 
ing that thereby he gained a more unguarded insight into 
the inner citadel of their nature, and could eee in the easy 
play of their faculties just about how much they could be 
made to answer his purposes, I had a chatty, merry din- 
ner of it, and found all my native shyness melting away 
under his charming affability. In fact, during the latter 
part of the time I almost felt that I could have told him 
anything that I could have told my own mother. What 
did we not talk about that is of interest in these stirring 
times I Philosophy, history, science, religion, life, death, 
and immortality — all received the most graceful off-hand 
treatment, and were discussed with a singular unanimity 
of sentiment — that unanimity which always takes place 
when the partner in a diecussion has the controlling pur- 
pose to be of the same mind as yourself. When, under 



I LAY THE FIRST BTOSB IN MY FOUNDATION 187 

the warm and sunny air of this genial nature, I had fully 
expanded, and confidence was in full bloaiKun, came the 
immediate business conversation in relation to the papor. 

"I am rejoiced," said Mr. Goldstick, "in these days of 
skepticism to come across a young man with real religious 
convictions. I am not, I regret to say, a religious professor 
myself, but I appreciate it, Mr. Henderson, as the element 
most wanting in our modern life." Here Mr. Goldstick 
sighed and rolled up hia eyes, and took a glass of wine. 

I felt encouraged in this sympathetic atmosphere to un- 
fold to him my somewhat idealized views of what might be 
accomplished by the daily press, by editors as truly under 
moral vows and consecrations as the clergymen who minis- 
tered at the altar. 

He caught the idea from me with enthusiasra, and went 
on to expand it with a vigor and richness of imagery, and 
to illustrate it with a profusion of incidents, which left me 
far behind him, gazing after him with Teverential admira- 

"Mr. Henderson," said he, "the ' Great Democracy ' ia 
not primarily a money-making enterprise — it is a great 
moral engine ; it is for the great American people, and it 
contemplates results which look to the complete regenera- 
tion of society." 

I ventured here to remark that the same object had been 
stated to me by the "Moral Spouting Horn." 

His countenance assumed at once an expression of in- 
tense disgust. 

"Ib it possible," he said, "that the charlatan has been 
trying to get hold ot yout My dear fellow," he added, 
drawing near to me with a confidential air, "of couree I 
would be the last man to infringe on the courtesies due to 
my brethren of the press, and you must be aware that our 
present coavenaticai is to be conaidered atrictly confiden- 



JfY WIFE AND I 

I EtMured him with fervor that I should consider it so. 

"Well, then," he said, "between ouTBelvea, I may say 
that the ' Moral Spouting Horn ' is a humbug. On mature 
reflection," he added, "I don't Itnow but duty requires me 
to go larther, and say, in the strictest conSdence, you 
imderatand, that I consider the ' Moral Spouting Horn ' a. 
swindle. " 

Here it occurred to me that the same communication had 
been made in equal confidence by the proprietor of the 
"Moral Spouting Horn" in relation to the "Great Demo- 
cracy." But, much as I was warmed into confidence by the 
genial atmosphere of my friend, I had still enough prudence 
to forbear making this statement. 

" Kow, " said he, " my young friend, in devoting yourself 
to the service of the ' Great Democracy ' you may consider 
yourself as serving the cause of Grod and mankind in ways 
that no clergyman has an equal chance of doing. Besido 
the press, sir, the pulpit is effete. It is, so to speak," he 
added, with a sweep of the right hand, " nowhere. Of 
course, the responsibilities of conducting such an organ 
ate tremendous, tremendous," he added reflectively, as I 
looked at him with awe; "and that is why I require in 
my writers, above all things, the clearest and firmest moral 
convictions. Sir, it is a critical period in our history; 
there is an amount of corruption in this nation that threat- 
ens its dissolution; the Church and the Pulpit have proved 
entirely inadequate to stem it. It rests with the Press." 

There was a aolemn pause, in which nothing was heard 
but the clink of the decanter on the glass, as he poured out 
another glass of wine. 

"It is a great responsibility," I remarked, with a sigh. 

"Enormous!" he added, with almost a groan, eying 
me sternly. "Consider," he went on, "the evils of the 
tremendously corrupted literature which 
poured upon the community. Sir, we are fast drifting 



being 1 
ing to J 



r LAY THB FIRST STOKB IN STT FODNDATIOB 139 

deatruction, it is a ealemn fact. The public mind must be 
aroused and strengthened to resist; they must be taught to 
discrimiiiat« ; there must be a. just standaid of moral criti- 
cism no less than of intellectual, and that must be attended 
to in our paper." 

I waa delighted to find his views in such accordance 
with mj own, and assured him I should be only too happf 
to do what I could to forward them. 

"We have been charmed and delighted," he said, "with 
your contributions hitherto; thoy have a high moral tone 
and have been deservedly popular, and it is our desire to 
secure you as a stated contributor in a semi-editorial capa- 
city, looking towards future developments. We wish that 
it were in our power to pay a more liberal sum than we 
can offer, but you must be aware, Mr. Henderson, that 
great moral enterprises must always depend, in a certain 
degree, on the element of self-sacrifice in their promoters," 

I reflected, at this moment, on my father's life, and 
assented with enthusiasm — remarking that "if I could 
only get enough to furnish me with the necessaries of life 
I should be delighted to go into the glorious work with 
him, and give to it the whole enthusiasm of my soul." 

"You have the right spirit, young man," he said. "It 
is delightful to witness this freshness of moral feeling." 
And thus, before our interview was closed, I had signed 
a contract of service to Mr. Goldstick, at very moderate 
wages, but my heart was filled with exulting joy at the 
idea of the possibilities of the situation, 

I was young, and ardent; I did not, at this moment, 
want to make money so much as to make myself felt in tbe 
great world. It was the very spirit of Phaeton; I wanted 
to have a hand on the reins, and a touch of the whip, and 
guide the fiery horses of Progress. I had written stories, 
and Bung songs, but I waa not quite content with those; I 
wanted the anonymous pulpit of the Editor to speak in, 



140 MY WIFE AND I 

the opportunity of being the daily invisible companion 
and coimselor of thousands about their daily paths. The 
offer of Mr. Groldstick, as I imderstood it, looked that way, 
and I resolved to deserve so well of him, by unlimited de- 
votion to the interests of the paper, that he should open 
my way before me. 



CHAPTER Xn 



BACEBLOR COMBAHEB 



I SOON became well acquainted with my collaboratore on 
the paper. It was a pleasant surprise to be greeted in tbe 
foreground by the familiar face of Jim Fellows, my old 
college classmate, Jim was an agreeable creature, bora 
with a decided genius for gossip. He had in perfection 
the faculty which phrenologists call individuality. He 
was statistical in the very marrow of hia bones, apparently 
imbibing all the external facts of every person and every- 
thing around him by a kind of rapid instinct. In college, 
Jim always knew all about every student; he knew all 
about everybody in the little town where the college was 
situated, their name, history, character, businoaa, their 
front-door and their back-door affairs. So birth, marriage, 
or death ever took Jim by surprise; he always knew all 
about it long ago. Now, aa a newspaper is a gossip market 
on a large scale, this species of talent often goes farther in 
OUT modem literary life than the deepest rejection or the 
highest culture. 

Jim was the beat-natured fellow breathing; it was im- 
possible to rufQe or disturb the easy, rattling, chattering 
flow of his animal spirits. He was like a Frenchman in 
his power of bright, airy adaptation to circumstoncea and 
determination and ability to make the moat of them. 

"How lucky I" he said, the morning I first shook hands 
with him at the office of the " Great Democracy " ; "you are 
just on the minute; the very lodging you want has been 
this morning by old Styles; sunny room — aouth 



143 KY WIFE AND I 

windows — close by here — water, gas, and so on, all cor- 
rect; and, best of all, me for your opposite neighbor." 

I went round with him, looked, approved, and was set- 
tled at once, Jim helping me with all the good-natured 
handiness and activity of old college days. We had a 
rattling, gay morning, plunging round into auction- rooms, 
bargaining for Becond-hand furniture, and with so much 
7.eal did we drive our enterprise, seconded by the co-labors 
of a charwoman whom Jim patronized, that by night I 
found myself actually settled in a home of my own, raak- 
ing tea in Jim's patent bachelor tea-kettle, and tcdking 
over his and my afFaira with the freedom of old cronies. 
Jim made no scruple in inquiring in the moat direct man- 
ner aa to the terms of my agreement with Mr, Goldatick, 
and opened the subject succinctly, as follows: — 

"Now, my son, you must let your old grandfather ad- 
vise you a little about your temporalities. In the first 
place, what 's Old Soapy going to give you) " 

"If you mean Mr. Goldstick" — said I. 

"Yes," said he, " call him ' Soapy ' for abort. Did he 
come down handsomely on the terms! " 

"Hia offera were not as large as I should have liked; 
but then, as he said, this paper is not a money-making affair, 
but a moral enterprise, and I am willing to work for less." 

" Moral grandmother ! " said Jim in a tone of unlimited 
disgust. "He be — thoked, as it were. Why, Harry 
Henderson, are your eye-teeth in such a retrograde state as 
that? Why, this paper ia a fortune to that man; he lives 
in a. palace, owns a picture-gallery, and rolla about in hia 
own carriage," 

"I understood him," said I, "that the paper was not 
immediately profitable in a pecuniary point of view." 

" Soapy calls everything unprofitable that does not yield 
him fifty per cent, on the money invested. Talk of moral 
enterprise! What did he engage you for J " 



BACHELOR COMRADES 



143 



I stated the fenna. 

"For how longC 

"For one year." 

"Well, the best you can do is to work it out now. 
Never niake another bargain without askiDg your grand- 
father. Why, he pays me juat double ; and you know, 
Harry, I am nothing at ail of a writer compared to you. 
But then, to be sure, I till a place you 've really no talent 
for." 

"What is that?" 

"General professor of humbug," aaid Jim. "No aort of 
business gets on in thia world without that, and I 'm a real 
genius in that line. I made Old Soapy come down, by 
threatening to ' rat,' and go to the ' Spouting Horn,' and 
they couldn't afford to let me do that. You see, I've 
been up their back stairs, and know all their little family 
secrets. The ' Spouting Horn ' would give their eye-teeth 
for me. It 's too funny," he said, throwing himself hack 
and laughing. 

"Are these papers rivals?" said I. 

"Well, I should ' rayther ' think they were," said he, 
eying rae with an air of superiority amounting almost to 
contempt, "Why, man, the thing that I'm particularly 
valuable for is, that I always know just what will plague 
the ' Spouting Horn ' folks the moat. I know precisely 
where to stick a pin or a needle into them ; and one great 
object of out paper is to show that the ' Spouting Horn ' ia 
always in the wrong. No matter what topic is uppermost, 
I attend to that, and get off something on them. For you 
see, they are popular, and make money like thunder, and, 
of course, that isn't to he allowed. Now," he added, 
pointing with his thumb upward, "overhead, there is really 
our best fellow — Bolton. Bolton is said to be the best 
writer of English in our day ; he 's an A No. 1, and no 
mistake; tremendously educated, and all that, and he knows 



144 iCt WIFE iSD I 

exactly to a Bhaving what 'a what everywhere; he 's a gen- 
tleman, too; we call him the Dominie. Well, Bolton 
writes the great leaders, and tires off on all the awful and 
solemn topica, and lays off the politics of Europe and the 
world generally. When there 's a row over there in Eu- 
rope, Bolton is magniticeat on editorials. You see, he has 
the run of all the rows they have had there, and every 
bobhery that has been kicked up since the Christian era. 
He '11 tell you what the French did in 1700 this, and the 
Germans in ISOO that, and of course he prophesies eplea- 
didly on what 'b to turn up next," 

"I suppose they give him large pay," eaid I. 

"Well, you see, Bolton 's a quiet fellow and a gentleman 
— one that hates to jaw — and is modest, and so they keep 
him along steady on about half what / would get out of 
them if I were in his skin. Bolton is perfectly satisfied. 
If 1 were he, I shouldn't be, you see. I say, Harry, I 
know you 'd like him. Let me bring him down and intro- 
duce him," and before I could either consent or refuse, 
Jim rattled upstairs, and I heard him in an earnest, per- 
suasive treaty, and soon be came down with his captive. 

I saw a man of thirty-three ot thereabouts, tall, well 
formed, with bright, dark eyes, strongly marked features, 
a finely tamed head, and closely cropped black hair. He 
had what I should call presence — something that im- 
pressed me, as he entered the room, with the idea of a 
superior kind of individuality, though he was simple in hia 
manners, with a slight air of shyness and constraint. The 
blood flushed in his cheeks as he was introduced to me, 
and there was a tremulous motion about his finely cut lips, 
betokening suppressed sensitivenesa. The first sound of 
his voice, as he spoke, struck on my ear agreeably, like 
the tones of a tine instrument, and, reticent and retiring 
as he seemed, I felt jnyself singularly attracted toward 



BACHELOB COMRADES 



145 



What impresBed me most, as he joined in the conveTBa- 
tion with my rattling, free and easy, good-natured neigh- 
bor, was an air of patient, amused tolerance. He struck 
me as a man who had made up his mind to expect nothing 
and ask nothing of life, and who was sitting it out pa- 
tiently, as one aita out a dull play at the theatre. He was 
disappointed with nobody, and angry with nobody, while 
he seemed to have no confidence in anybody. With all 
this apparent reserve, he was simply and frankly cordial to 
me, as a newcomer and a fellow-worker on the same paper. 

"Mr. Henderson," he said, "I shall be glad to extend 
to you the hospitalities of my den, such aa they are. If 
I can at any time render you any asaistance, don't hesitate 
to use me. Perhaps you would like to walk up and look 
at my books 1 I shall be only too happy to put them at 
your disposal." 

We went up into a little attic room whose walls were 
literally lined with books on all sides, only allowing space 
for the two southerly windows which overlooked the city. 

"I like to be high in the world, you see," he said, with 
a smile. 

The room wae not a large one, and the centre was occu- 
pied by a large table, covered with books and papers. A 
cheerful coal tire was burning in the little grate, a large 
leather armchair stood before it, and, with one or two other 
chairs, completed the furniture of the apartment. A small, 
lighted closet, whose door stood open on the room, dis- 
played a pallet bed of monastic simplicity. 

There were two occupants of the apartment who seemed 
established there by right of posaession. A large Maltese 
cat, with great, golden eyes, like two full moons, aat 
gravely looking into the fire, in one comer, and a very 
plebeian, scrubby mongrel, who appeared to have known 
the hard side of life in former days, was dozing in the 
other, Apparently, these genii loci were so strong in their 



sense of poesesaion thot our entrance gave them no disturb- 
ance. The dog unclosed his eyea with b sleepy wink aa 
we came in, and then shut them again, dreamily, as satis- 
fied that all was right. 

Bolton invited ns to ait down, and did the honors of his 
room with a quiet elegance, as if it had been a palace in- 
stead of an attic. Ab soon as we were seated, the cat 
sprang familiarly on the table and sat down cosily by Bol- 
ton, rubbing her head against hia coat-sleeve. 

"Let me introduce you to my wife," said Bolton, strok- 
ing her head. "Eh, Jenny, what nowl" he added, aa 
she seized his hands playfully in her teeth and claws. 
"You see, she has the connubial weapons," he said, "and 
insists on being treated with attention; but she's capital 
company. I read all my articles to her, and she never 
makes an unjust criticism." 

Puss soon stepped from her peich on the table and en- 
sconced herself in his lap, while I went round examining 
hia hooks. The library showed varied and curiona tastes. 
The books were almost all rare. 

"I have always made a rule," he aaid, "neTer to buy 
a hook that I could borrow. " 

I was amused, in the course of the conversation, at the 
relations which apparently existed between him and Jim 
Fellows, which appeared to me to he very like what might 
he supposed to exist between a philosopher and a lively pet 
squirrel — it was the perfection of quiet, amused tolerance. 

Jim seemed to he not in the slightest degree under con- 
straint in his presence, and rattled on with a free and easy 
slang familiarity, precisely as he had done with me. 

" What do you think Old Soapy has engaged Hal fori " 
he said. " Why, he only offers him " — Here followed 
the statement of terms. 

I waB annoyed at this matter-of-fact way of handling my 
joivate affairs, hut on meeting the eyes of my new friend 1 




BACHSLOR COMHADES 



U7 



discerned a glance of quiet humor which reassured tne. 
He seemed to regard Jim only as another form of the inev- 

" Don't you think it ia a confounded take-in 1" said 

"Of course," said Mr. Bolton, with a smUe, "but he 
will survive it. The place is only one of the stepping- 
stonea. Meanwhile," he said, "I think Mr. Henderson 
can find other markets for hia literary wares, and more 
profitflhle ones. I think," he added, while the blood again 
rose in his cheeks, "that I have some influence in certain 
literary quarters, and I shall be happy to do all that I can 
to secure to him that which he ought to receive for such 
careful work as this. Your labor on the paper will not 
by any means take up your whole power or time." 

"Well," said Jim, "the fact ia the same all the world 
over — the people that grow a thing are those that get the 
least for it. It isn't your farmers, that work early and 
late, that get rich by what they raise out of the earth, it 's 
the middlemen and the hucksters. And just so it is in 
literature; and the better a fellow writes, and the more 
work he puts into it, the less he gets paid for it. "Why, 
now, look at me," he said, perching himself astride the 
arm of a chair, "I 'm a genuine literary humbug, but I '11 
bet you I '11 make more money than either of you, because, 
you see, I 've no modesty and no conscience. Confound it 
all, those are luxuries that a poor fellow can't afford to 
keep. I 'm a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal, hut 
I 'm just the sort of fellow the world wants, and, hang it, 
they shall pay me for being that sort of fellow. I mean 
to make it shell out, and you see if I don't. I '11 bet you, 
now, that I'd write a book that you wouldn't, either of 
you, be hired to write, and sell one hundred thousand 
copies of it, and put the money in my pocket, marry the 
handsomest, richest, and best educated girl in New York, 



148 MT WIFE AND I 

while you are trudging on, doing good, carefU work, as 
ydu call it." 

"Remember us in your will," said I. 

"Oh yes, I will," he said. "I'll found an asylum for 
decayed authors of merit — a sort of literary * H6tel des 
Invalides. ' " 

We had a hearty laugh over this idea, and, on the 
whole, our evening passed off very merrily. When I 
shook hands with Bolton for the night, it was with a silent 
conviction of an interior affinity between us. 

It is a charming thing in one's rambles to come across 
a tree, or a flower, or a fine bit of landscape that one can 
think of afterward, and feel richer for its being in the 
world. But it is more when one is in a strange place, to 
come across a man that you feel thoroughly persuaded is, 
somehow or other, morally and intellectually worth explor- 
ing. Our lives tend to become so hopelessly commonplace, 
and the human beings we meet are generally so much one 
just like another, that the possibility of a new and peculiar 
style of character in an acquaintance is a most enlivening 
one. There was something about Bolton both stimulating 
and winning, and I lay down less a stranger that night 
than I had been since I came to New York. 



CHAPTER Xm 



HAP8 AND XISHAPS 



> upon my new duties with enthusiasm, end 
produced some editorials, for which I was complimented by 
Mr. Goldatick. 

"That's the kind of thing wanted I " ho said; "a firm, 
moral tone, and steady religious convictions; that pleases 
the old standards." 

Eraholdened by this I proceeded to attack a specific 
abuse in New York administration, which had struck me 
as needing to be at once righted. If ever a moral trumpet 
ought to have its voice, it waa on this subject, I read my 
article to Bolton ; in fact, I had gradually fallen into the 
habit of referring myself to his judgment. 

"It ia all perfectly true," he remarked, when 1 had fin- 
ished, while he leaned back in his chair and stroked his 
oat, "hut they never will put that into the paper, in tha 

"Why," eaid I, "if ever there was an abuse that re- 
quired exposing, it ia this." 

"Precisely!" he replied. 

"And what is the use," I went on, "of general moral 
preaching that is never applied to any particular case 1 " 

"The use," he replied calmly, "is that that kind of 
preaching pleases everybody, and increases subscribers, 
while the other kind makes enemies, and decreases them." 

"And jon really think that they won't put this article 
in t " said I. 

"I'm certain they won't," he replied. "The fact is, thia 



MY WIFE AND I 

paper is bought up on the other aide. Messrs. Goldstick 
aud Co. have intimate connection with Messrs. Bunkam 
and Chaffem, who are part and parcel of this very affair." 

I opened my mouth with astonishment, "Then Gold- 
atick is a hypocrite," I said. 

"Not conscioUBly," he answered calmly, 

"Why," said I, "you would have thought by the way 
be talked to me that he had nothing so much at heart bb 
the moral progreas of society, and was ready to sacrifice 
everything to it." 

"Well," said Bolton quietly, "did you never see a 
woman who thought ehe waa handsome, when she was not I 
Did you never see a man who thought he waa witty, when 
he waa only scurriloua and impudent t Did you never see 
people who flattered themaelves they were frank, because 
they were obtuse and impertinent) And cannot you ima- 
gine that a man may think himself a philanthropist, when 
he ia only a worshiper of the golden calfl That same 
calf," he continued, stroking bis cat till she purred aloud, 
"has the largest church of any on earth." 

"Well," said I, "at any rate I '11 hand it in." 

"You can do so," he replied, "and that will be the last 
you will hear of it, Tou see, I've been thia way before 
you, and I have learned to save myself time and trouble on 
these Bubjects." 

The result was precisely as Bolton predicted. 

"We must be a little careful, my young friend," said 
Mr, Goldstick, "how we handle specific matters of this 
kind ; they have extended relations that a young man can- 
not be expected to appreciate, and I would advise you to 
confine yourself to abstract moral principles; keep up a 
high moral standard, sir, and things will come right of 
themselves. Now, sir, if you could expose the corruptions 
in England it would have an admirable moral effect, and 
our general line of policy now is down on England. " 



HAPB AND HIBHAP8 



151.4 



A day or two after, howevei, I fell into seriauB di^race. 
A part of my duties consisted in reviewing the current 
literature of the day ; Bolton, Jim, and I took that depart- 
ment among ua, and I aoon learned to sympathize with the 
tea-tasters, who are said to ruin their digestion by an in- 
cessant tasting of the different qualities of tea. The enor- 
mouB quantity and variety of magazines and books that I 
had to "sample" in. a few days brought me into such a 
Btat« of mental dyspepsia, that I began to wish every book 
in the Bed Sea. I really was brought to consider the 
usual pleasant tone of book notices in America to be evi- 
dence of a high degree of Christian forbearance. In look- 
ing over my ehare, however, I fell upon a novel of the 
modem, hot, sensuous school, in which glowing coloring 
and a sort of religious sentimentalism were thrown around 
actions and principles which tended directly to the dissolu- 
tion of society. Here was exactly the opportunity to stem 
that tide of corruption against which Mr. Goldstick ao 
solemnly had warned me. I made the analysis of the boolc 
a text for exposing the whole class of principles and prac- 
tices it inculcated, and uttering my warning against corrupt 
literature, I sent it to the paper, and in it went. A day 
or two after Mr. Goldstick came into the office in great 
disorder, with an open letter in his hand. 

" What 's all this ? " he said ; " here 's Sillery and 
Peacham blowing us up for being down on their hooka, 
and threatening to take away their advertising from ua," 

Nobody seemed to know anything about it, till finally 
the matter was traced hack to me. 

"It was a corrupt book, Mr. Goldstick," said I, with 
firmness, "and the very object you stated to me was to 
establish a just moral criticism." 

"Go to thunder! young man," said Mr. Goldstick iu 
a tone I had never heard before. " Have you no diacrimi- 
nation 1 are you going to blow us up 1 The ' Great Demo- 



XY WIFE AND I 

cracy,' sir, is a great moral engine, aad the advertising of 
this publishing house gives thousands of dollara yearly 
towards its support. It 's an understood thing that Sillecy 
and Feacham's books are to be treated handsomely." 

"I aay, Captain," said Jim, who came up behind us at 
this time, "let me manage this matter; I'll straighten it 
out; SUlery and Peaeham know me, and I'll fix it with 
them." 

"Come, Hal, my boy!" he said, hooking me by the 
arm, and leading me out. 

We walked to our lodgings together. I was gloriously 
indignant all the way, but Jim laughed till the tears rolled 
down hie cheeks. 

"You Bweet babe of Eden," said he, as we entered my 
room, "do get quiet! I'll ait right down and write a 
letter from the Boston correspondent on that book, saying 
that your article has created a most immense sensation in 
the literary circles of Boston in regard to its moral char- 
acter, and exhort everybody to rush to the book-store and 
aee for themselves, Now, ' hush, my dear, lie still and 
slumber,' while I do it." 

" Why, do you mean to go to Boston I " said I. 

"Only in spirit, my dear. Bless you! did you suppose 
that the Boston correspondents, or any other correepon- 
dents, are there, or anywhere else in fact, that they profess 
to bet I told you that I was the professor of humbug. 
This little affair lies strictly in my department," 

"Jim!" said I solemnly, "I don't want to be in such 
a network of chicanery." 

"Oh, come, Hal, nobody else wants to be just where 
they are, and, after all, it's none of your business; you 
and Bolton are great moral forty -pounders. When we get 
you pointed the right way for the paper you can roar and 
fire away at your leisure, and the mora! effect will be pro- 
digious. I'm your flying- artillery — all over the field 



M 



HAPS AUD MISHAPS 



158 



everywhere, pop, and off again; and what is it to you what 

I do 1 Now you see, Hal, you must just have some general 
lines about your work ; the fact is, I ought to have told 
you before. There 's Sillery and Peaebam'a books have 
got to be put Htraight along: you see there ia no mistake 
about that; and when you and Bolton find one you can't 
praise honestly, turn it over to me. Then, again, there 'a 
Boiill and Bangem's books have got to be put down. 
They had a row with us last year, and turned over their 
advertising to the 'Spouting Horn.' Now, if you happen 
to find s bad novel among fhelr books, show it up, cut into 
it without mercy ; it will give you just as good a chance to 
preach, with your muzzle pointed the right way, and do 
exactly as much good. You see, there 's everything with 
you fellows in getting you pointed right." 

"But," said I, "Jim, this course is utterly subversive of 
all just criticism. It makes book notices good for nothing." 

"Well, they are not good for much," said Jim reflec- 
tively. "I sometimes pity a poor devil whose first book 
has been all cut up, just because Goldstick's had a row 
with hia publishers. But then there 's this comfort, what 
Tve run down the ' Spouting Horn ' will run up, so it ia 
about as broad as it is long. Then there 's otir magazines. 
We're in with the 'Rocky Mountains' now — we've 
been out with them for a year or two and cut up all their 
articles. Now you see, we are in, and the rule is, to begin 
at the beginning and praise them all straight through, so 
you '11 have plain sailing there. Then there 's the ' Pacific ' 
— you are to pick on that all you can. I think you had 
better leave that to me. I have a talent for saying little 
provoking things that gall people, and that they can't an- 
Bwer. The fact is, the ' Pacific ' has got to come down a 
little, and come to our terms, before we are civil to it." 

"Jim Fellowe" — I began. 

"Come, come, go and let off to Bolton, if you have got 



184 MY WIFE AND I 

anything more to say;" lie added, "I want to write my 
Boston letter. You see, Hal, I ehall bring you out with 
flying colors, and get a better sale for the book than if you 
hadn't written." 

"Jim," said I, "I 'm going to get out of this paper," 
"And pray, my dear sir, what will you get intol" 
" I '11 get into one of the religious papers, " 
Jim upon this leaned back, kicked up his heels, and 
laughed aloud. "I could help you there," he said. "I 
do the literary for three religious newspapers now. These 
solemn old Dons are so busy about theit tweedle-dums and 
tweedle-dees of justification and election, baptism and 
church goyemment, that they don't know anything about 
current literature, and get us fellows to write their book 
notices. I rather think that they'd stare if they should 
read some of the hooks that -we puff up. I tell yon, 
Christy's Minstrels are nothing to it. Think of it, Hal, 
— the solemn ' Holy Sentinel ' with a laudatory criticism of 
Dante Ttoasetti's ' Jenny ' in it — and the ' Trumpet of Zion ' 
with a commendatory notice of George Sand's novels." 
Here Jim laughed with a fresh impulse. " You see, the 
dear, good souls are altogethei too pious to know anything 
about it, and ao we libei'alize the papers, and the publiah- 
eis make us a little consideration for getting their hooks 
started in religious circles." 

"Well, Jim," said I, "!■ want to just ask you, do you 
think this sort of thing is right 1 " 

"Bless your soul now!" said Jim, "if you are going to 
begin with that, here in New York, where are you going 
to end — ' Where do you 'spect to die when you go to ) ' 
— as the old darky said." 

"Well," said I, "would you like to have Dante Eoa- 
Betti's ' Jenny ' put into the hands of your sister or younger 
brother, recommended hy a religious newspaper I" 

"Well, to tell the truth, Hal, I didn't write those 



4 



HAP9 AND MISHAPS 



155 



noticea. Bill Joaes wrote them. Bill 's up to anything. 
You know every pereoa in England and this country has 
praised Dante Kossetti, and particularly ' Jenny, ' and reli- 
gious papera may as well be out of the world aa out of 
fashion, — and bo mother she Ixiught a copy for a Chriat- 
mas present to sister Nell. And I tell you if I did n't get 
a going over about it! 

" I Bhowed her the article in the ' Holy Sentinel, ' but 
it did n't do a bit of good. She made me promise I 
wouldn't write it up, and I never have. She said it was 
a shame, You see mother isn't up to the talk about high 
ixt, that 's got up nowadays about Dante Sossetti and 
Swinburne, and those. I thought myself that ' Jenny ' 
was coming it pretty strong, — and honest now, I never 
could see the sense in it. But then, you see, I am not artis- 
tic. If a feilow should tell a story of that kind to my 
sister, I should horsewhip him, and kick him down the 
front steps. But he dresses it up in poetry, and it lies 
around on pious people's tables, and nobody dares to say 
a, word because it 's ' artistic. ' People are so afraid they 
shall not be supposed to understand what high art is that 
they'll knuckle down under most anything. That's the 
kind of world we live in. Well, I didn't make the world, 
and I don't govern it. But the world owes me a living, 
and hang it! it shall give me one. So you go up to Bol- 
ton, and leave me to do my work; I 've got to write col- 
umns, and then tramp out to that confounded water-color 
exhibition, because I promised Snooks a pulT, — I sha'n't 
get to bed till twelve or one. I tell you, it 'a steep on a 
fellow now." 

I went up to Bolton, boiling and bubbling and seething, 
with the spirit of sixteen reformers in my veins. The 
scene, as I opened the door, was sufficiently tranquiliKing. 
Bolton sat reading by the side of his shaded study-lamp, 
with his cat asleep in his lap; the ill-favored dog, before 



mentioned, waa planted by his aide, with hia nose upturned, 
surveying him with a, fuUneaa of iloggiah adoration and 
complacency, which made his rubbishy shop-worn figure 
quite an affecting item in the picture. Crouched down on 
the floor in the comer was a ragged, unkempt, freckle- 
faced little boy, busy doing a sum on a elate. 

"Ah, old fellow," he said, aa he looked up and saw rae. 
"Come iuj there, there, Snubby," he said to the dc^, 
puahing him gently into his corner, " let the gentleman eit 
down. You see, you lind me surrounded by my family," 
be said. "Wait one minute," he added, turning to the 
boy in the comet, and taking hia slate out of hia hanii, 
and running over the sum. "All right. Bill. Kow here 's 
your book." He took a volume of the "Arabian Mights " 
from the table, and handed it to him, and Bill settled him- 
self on the floor, and was aoon lost in Sindbad the Sailor. 
He watched him a minute or two, and then looked round 
at me, with a smile. "1 wouldn't he afraid to bet that 
you might shout in that fellow's ear and he wouldn't hear 
you, now he ia fairly in upon that book. Isn't it worth 
while to be able to give such perfect bliss in this world at 
so small an expense 1 I 've lost the power of reading the 
' Arabian Nighte, ' but I comfort myself in seeing this chap," 

"Who ia heJ" said L 

"Oh, he 'a my waaherwoman'a boy. Poor fellow! He 
has hard times. I 've set him up in selling newspapers. 
You see, I try now and then to pick up one grain out of 
the heap of misery, and put it into the heap of happiness, 
as John Newton said." 

I was still bubbling with the unrest of my spirit, and 
finally overflowed upon him with the whole history of my 
day's misadventures, and all the troubled thoughts and 
burning indignations that I had with reference to it. 

"My dear fellow," he said, "take it easy. We have to 
accept this world aa a. fait accompli. It takes eome time 




HAPS AND MISHAPS 



167 



for UB to leam how little we can do to help or to hinder. 
You cannot tahe a step in the busine^ of life anywhere 
Tithout meeting just this kind of thing; and one part of the 
science of living is to learn just what our own responsibility 
ie, and to let other people's alone. The fact is," he said, 
"the growth of current literature in onr times has been so 
Budden and ho enormous that things are in a sort of revolu- 
tionary state with regard to it, in which it ia very difficult 
to ascertain the exact right. For example, I am connected 
with a paper which is simply and purely, at bottom, a finan- 
cial speculation; its owners must make money. Now, they 
are not bad men as the world goes — they are well-meaning 
men — amiable, patriotic, philanthropic — some of them 
are religious; they, all of theiri, would rather virtue would 
prevail than vice, and good than evil; they, all of them, 
■would desire every kind of abuse to be reformed, and every 
good cause to be forwarded that could be forwarded with- 
out a sacrifice of their main object. As for me, I am not 
a holder or proprietor, I am simply a servant engaged by 
these people for a certain sum. If I should sell myself to 
say what I do not think, or to praise what I consider harm- 
ful, to propitiate tbeir favor, I should he a dastard. They 
understand perfectly that I never do it, and they never ask 
mo to. Meanwhile, they employ persons who will do 
these things, I am not responsible for it any more than 
I am for anythmg else which goes on in the city of New 
York. I am allowed my choice among notices, and I never 
write them without saying, to the best of my ability, the 
exact truth, whether literary or in a moral point of view. 
Now, that is just my stand, and if it satisfies you, you can 
take the same." 

"But," said I, "it makes me indignant to have Gold- 
stick talk to me as he did about a great self-denying moral 
enterprise — why, that man must know he 's a liar. " 

"Do you think sol" said he, "I don't imagine ha 



Goldatick has considerable Bentiment. It's quite 
easy to get him excited oa moral subjects, and he dearly 
lovea to hear himself talk — he ia sincerely interested in a 
good number of moral reforms, so long as they coat him 
nothing; and when a man ia working his good faculties, 
he is genemlly delighted with himself, and it ia the most 
natural thing in the world to think that there is more of 
him than there is. I am often put in mind of that enthu- 
siastic young ruler that came to the Savioiir, who bad kept 
all the commandments, and seemed determined to be on 
the high road to saintship. The Saviour just touched him 
on this financial question, and he wilted in a minute. I 
consider that to be still the test question, and there are a 
good many young rulers like him, who don't keep all the 
commandmentB. " 

"Your way of talking," said I, "seems to do away with 
all moral indignation." 

He smiled, and then looked aadly into the fire. "God 
help us all," he said. "We are all struggling in the water 
together and pulling one another under — our best virtnes 
are such a miserable muddle — and then — there's the 
beam in our own eye." 

There was a depth of pathos in his dark eyes as ho 
spoke, and suddenly a smile flashed over his features, and 
looking around, he said ; — 

" So, what do you thiak at that, my cat, 
And what do yoii think of that, my dog ? " 




CHAPTEE XIV 



I SAT, Hal, do you want to get acquainted with an; o 
the P. G. 'a here in New York 1 If you do, I can put you 
on the track." 

"P. G.'s?" Haid I innocently. 

"Yea; you know that's what Plato calls pretty girla. 
I don't believe you remember your Greek. I 'm going out 
this evening where there's a lot of 'em — splendid house 
on Fifth Avenue — lota of tin — girls gracious. Don't 
know which of 'em I shall take yet. Don't you want to 
go with me and see 1 " 

Jim stood at the looking-glass brushing his hair and 
Biranging his necktie. 

"Jim Fellows, you are a coxcomb," said I. 

"I don't know why I shouldn't be," said he. "The 
girls fairly throw themselves at one's head. They are up 
to all that sort of thing. Besides, I 'm on the lookout for 
my fortune, and it all comes in the way of husineas. 
Come, now, dou't sit there writing all the evening. Come 
out, and let me show you New York by gaslight." 

"No," said I; "I 've got to finish up this article for the 
' Milky Way. ' The fact is, a fellow must be industrious to 
make anything, and my time for seeing girls is n't come 
yet. I must have something to support a wife on before 
I look roimd in that direction." 

"The idea, Harry, of a good-looking fellow like you not 
making the most of his advantages! Why, there are nice 
girls in this city that could help you up faster than all the 



HT Wim AND I 

writing you can do these ten yeara. And you sitting, 
moiling and toiling, when you ought to be makiug some 
lovely woman happy ! " 

" I shall never marry for money, Jim, you may depend 
upon that." 

" ' Baa, baa, black sheep, ' " said Jim, " Who is talking 
about marrying for moneyl A fine girl ia Bone the worse 
for fifty thousand dollars, aud I can give you a list of 
twenty that you can go round among until you fall in love, 
and not come amiss anywhere, if it 's falling in love that 
you want to do." 

"Oh, come, Jim," said I, "do finish your toilet and be 
off with yourself if you are going. I don't blame a woman 
who marries for money, since the whole world has always 
agreed to shut her out of any other way of gaining an 
independence. But for a man, with every other avenue 
open to him, to mouse about for a rich wife, I think ia 
too dastardly for anything." 

"That would make a fine point for a paragraph," said 
Jim, turning round to me, with perfect good-humor. " So 
I advise you to save it for the moral part of the paper. 
You see, if you waste too much of that sort of thing on 
me, your mill may run low. It 'a a deuced hard thing to 
keep the moral a-going the whole year, you'll find." 

"Well," said I, "I am going to try to make a home 
for a wife, by good, thorough work, done just as work 
ought to he done; and I have no time to waste on society 
in the mean while." 

"And when you are ready for her," said Jim, "I sup- 
pose you expect to receive her per ' Divine Providence ' 
Express, ticketed and labeled, and expenses paid. Or, 
maybe she '11 be brought to you some time by genii, aa 
the Princess of China was brought to the Prince of Tar- 
tary, when he was asleep. I used to read about that in 
the Arabian tales." 



I MEET X YTSmS 1C1 

I gh-e ibis little peasage of my cenTontitn wHli Jim, 
because it u a pretty good illustration of the udom that 
"It is not in man that valketh to direct his Btep^" 
When we hare annoonoed anr settled pnrpose or sablime 
intejition in r^ard to our future course of life, it seeins 
to be the delight of fortune to throw us directly into cir- 
ennistauoea in which we shall be tempted to do what we 
have jtut declared we nevei will do, and the fortunes of 
our livea turn upon the most inconsiderable hingea. Mine 
turned upon an umbrella. 

The next morning I had business in the very lowermost 
part of the city, and started oS without my umbrella; but 
being weather-wise, and discerning the face of the sky, I 
went back to my room and took it. It was one of those 
little pet objects of vertu to which a bachelor sometimes 
treats himself in li«u of domestic luxuries. It had a Snely 
carved handle, which I bought in Dieppe^ and which caused 
it to be peculiar among all the umbrellas in New York. 

It was one of those uncertain, capricious days that mark 
the coming in of April, when Nature, like a nervous 
beauty, doesn't seem to know her own mind, and laughs 
one moment and cries the next with a perplexing uncer- 
tainty. The first part of the morning the amiable and 
smiling predominated, and I began to regret that I had 
encumbered myself with the troublesome precaution of an 
umbrella while tramping around down town. In thia 
mood of mind I sat at Fulton Ferry waiting the starting 
of the Bleecker Street car, when suddenly the scene was 
enlivened to my view by the entrance of a young lady, who 
happened to seat herself exactly opjxisite to me. 

Now, as a writer, an observer of life and manners, I had 
often made quiet studies of the fair flowera of modern New 
York society as I rode up and down in the cars. In no 
other country in the world, perhaps, has a man the oppor- 
tunity of being vis-a-vU with tlie best and most cultured 



162 



BIT WIFE AND I 



dasB of young women in the public conveyances. In Eng- 
land, this claas are veiled and eecluded from gaze by all the 
ordinances and arrangements of society. They go out only 
in their own carriages; they travel in reserved compart- 
ments of the railway carriages ; they pasB from these to 
reserved apartments in the hotels where they are served 
apart in family privacy as much as in their own dwellings. 
So that the stranger traveling in the country, unless he 
have introductions to the personal hospitality of these cir- 
cieB, baa almost no way of forming any opinion even as to 
the external appearance of its younger women. In France, 
a still stricter regime watches over the young, unmarried 
girl, who is kept in the shade of an almost conventual seclu- 
sion till marriage opens the doors of her prison. The young 
American girl, however, of the better and of the best classes 
is to be met and observed everywhere. She moves through 
life with the assured step of a princess, too certain of her po- 
sition and familiar with her power even to dream of a fear. 
She looks on her surroundings from above with the eye of a 
mistress, and expects, of course, to see all things give way 
before her, as in our republican society they generally do. 

During the few months I had spent in New York I had 
diligently kept out of society. The permitted silent ac- 
quaintance with my fair countrywomen which I gained 
while riding up and down in street conveyances became, 
therefore, a favorite and harmless source of amusement. 
Not an item in the study escaped me, not a feather in that 
rustling and wonderful plumage of fashion that bore thera 
up was unnoted. I mused on styles and characteristics, 
and silently wove in my own mind histories to correspond 
with the various physiognomies I studied. Let not the 
reader imagine me staring point-blank, with my mouth 
open, at all I met. The art of noting without appearing 
to note, of seeing without seeming to see, was one that I 
cultivated with assiduity. 




I MEET A VISIOS 



161 



Therefore, without any impertinent scratiDj, I Batiafied^ 
myself of the fact that a feminine presence of an unueuol 
kind and quality was opposite to me. It was, at first 
glance, one of the New York princesses of the blood, accus- 
tomed to treading on clouda and breathing incense. There 
was a quiet savoir faire and self- possess ion as she sat down 
on her seat, as if it were a throne ; and there was a species 
of repressed vitality and decision in all her little involun- 
tary movements that interested me as live things always do 
interest, in proportion to their quantum of life. We all 
are familiar with the fact that there are some people, who, 
let them sit still as they may, and conduct themselves never 
so quietly, nevertheless impress their personality on thoae 
around them, and make their presence felt. An attractioa 
of this sort drew my eyes toward my neighbor. She was i 
a young lady of medium height, slender and elastic figure^ [ 
features less regularly beautiful than piquant and expres- I 
aive. I remarked a pair of fine dark eyes the more from ! 
the contrast with a golden cripe of hair. The combination 
of dork eyes and lashes with fair hair always produces 
effect of a striking character. She was attired as 1 
a Fifth Avenue princess, who has the world of fashion at 
her feet, — yet, to my thinking, as one who had chosen 
and adapted her material with an eye of taste, A delicate 
cashmere was folded carelessly round her shoulders, and 
her little hands were gloved with a careful nicety of fit; 
and dangling from one finger was a toy purse of gold and 
pearl, in which she hegan searching for the change to pay 
her fare. I saw, too, as she investigated, an expression 
of perplexity, slightly tinged with the ludicrous, upon her 
face, I perceived at a glance the matter. She wi 
veying a ten-dollar note with a glance of amused vexation, 
and vainly turning over her little purse for the s 
change or tickets available in the situation, I leaned for- 
ward and offered, as gentlemen generally do, to take her 



MY WIFE AND I 

fare and pasa it forward. Witli a smile of apology she 
handed me the bill, and showed the little empty purse. 
"Allow me to arrange it," I eaid. She BBiUed and blushed, 
I passed up the ticket necessary for the occasion, returned 
her bill, bowed, and immediately looked another way with 
sedulous care. 

It requires an extra amount of discretion and delicacy to 
make it tolerable to a true lady to become in the smallest 
degree indebted to a gentleman who is a stranger. I was 
aware that my fair vis-a-vis was inwardly disturbed at 
having inadvertently been obliged to accept from me even 
BO small an obligation as a fare ticket; but as matters were, 
there was no help for it. On the whole, though 1 was 
aorry for her, I could not but regard the incident as a spe- 
ciea of good tuck for myself. We rode along — perhaps 
each of ub conscious at times of being attentively considered 
by the other, until the car turned up Park Kow, before 
the Aetor House ; she signaled the conductor to stop, and 
got out. Here it was that the beneficent intentions of the 
fates, in causing me to bring my umbrella, were made 
manifest. 

Just as the car utarted again, came one of those sudden 
gushes of rain with which perverse April delights to rufile 
and discompose unwary passengers. It was less a decent, 
decorous shower than a dash of water by the bucketfuL 
Immediately I jumped out and stepped to the aide of my 
gentle neighbor, begging her to allow me to hold my um- 
brella over her, and see her in safety across Broadway. 
She meant to have stopped at one or two places, she said, 
hut it rained so she would thank me to put her into a Fifth 
Avenue stage. So we went together, threading our way 
through rushing and trampling carriages, horses, and cars, 
— a driving storm above, below, and around, which seemed 
to throw my fair princess entirely upon my protection for 
a few moments, till I had her safe in the up- town omnibus. 




I SIEET A VISION 16! 

As it was my route, also, I, too, entered, ood by this tima. 
feeling a sort of privilege of acquaintance, arranged ths, 
fare for her, and again received a courteous and apologetic 
acltDowledgment, Before a very elegant house in Fiftli 
Avenue m; unknovm alighted, and the rain still continu- 
ing, there was an excuse for my attending hei up the steps, 
and ringing the door-bell for her. 

We were kept waiting in this position several minutes, 
when she very gracefully expressed her thanks for my 
kindness, and begged that I would walk in. 

Surprised and pleased, I excused myself on plea of en- 
gagements, but presented her with my card, and said I 
would do myself the pleasure of calling at another time. 

With a little laugh and blush she handed me a card from 
a tiny pearl and gold case, on which waa engraved "Era 
Van Arsdel," and in the comer, "Wednesdays." 

"Wo receive on Wednesdays, Mr. Henderson," she said, 
"and mamma will be so happy to make your acquaintance." 

Here the door opened, and my fairy princess vanished 
from view, with a parting vision of a blush, smile, and 
bow, and I was left outside with the lain and the mud and 
the dull, commonplace grind of my daily work. 

The house, as I noted it, was palatial in its aspect 
Clear, large windows, which seemed a single sheet of crys- 
tal, gave a view of banks of flowering hyacinths, daffodils, 
crocuses, and roses, curtained in by misty falls of lace 
drapery. Evidently it was one of those Circean regions 
of retreat, where the lovely daughters of fashionable wealth 
in New York keep guard over an eternal lotus-eater's para- 
dise; where they tread on enchanted carpets, move to the 
sound of music, and live among flowers and odors a life of 
blissful ignorance of toil or care. 

"To what purpose," I thought to myself, "should I call 
there, or pursue the vision into its own regions J jEneaa 
might as well try to follow Venus to the scented regions 



1 



166 M7 WIFE AND I 

above Idalis, where her hundred altare forever bum, and 
her flowers never die." 

But yet I was no wiser and no older than other men at 
three- an d-twenty, and the little card which I had placed 
in my vest pocket seemed to diffuse an agreeable, electric 
warmth, which constantly reminded me of its presence 
there. I took it out and looked at it. I spelled the name 
over, and dwelt on every letter. There was so much posi- 
tive character in the little lady, — such a sort of spicy, 
racy individuality, that the little I had seen of her was like 
reading the first page of an enchanting romance, and I 
could not repress a curiosity to go on with it. To-day was 
Monday; the reception day was Wednesday. Should I 
goT 

Prudence said, "No; you are a young man with youi 
way to make; you are self-dependent; jou are poor; you 
have no time to spend in helping rich idle people to hunt 
butterlties, and string rose-leaves, and make dandelion- 
chains. If you set your foot over one of those enchanted 
thresholds, where wealth and idleness rule together, you 
will be bewildered, enervated, and spoiled for any really 
high or severe task-work; you will become an idler, a 
dangler; the power of sustained labor and self-denial will 
depart from you, and you will run like a breathless lackey 
after the chariot of wealth and fashion." 

On the other hand, as the little bit of enchanted paste- 
board gently burned in my vest pocket, it said: — 

"Why should you he rude? It is incumbent on you as 
a gentleman to respond to the invitation so frankly given. 
Besides, the writer who aspires to influence society must 
know society ; and how can one know society unless one 
studies it! A hermit in his cell is no judge of what is 
going on in the world. Besides, he does not overcome the 
world who runs away from it, but he who meets it bravely. 
It is the part of a coward to be afraid of meeting wealth 




I MEET A VISION 

aad luxury and indolence on theii own graunda. He n 
conquers who can keep awake, walking straight through I 
the enchanted ground ; not he who makes a d4tour to get I 
round it. " 

All which I had arrayed in good set terms as I rode back 
to my room, and went up to Bolton to look up in his library 
the authorities for au article I was getting out on the Do- 
mestic Life of the Ancient Greeks. £olton had succeeded 
in making me feel so thoroughly at home in his library that 
it was to all intents and purposes as if it were my own. 

As I was tumbling over the books that tilled every cor- 
ner, there fell out from a little niche a photc^raph, or 
rather ambrotype, such as were in use in the infancy of 
the art. It fell directly into my hand, so that taking it 
up it was impossible not to perceive what it was, and I i 
recognized in an instant the person. It was the head at | 
my Cousin Caroline, not as I knew her now, but ai 
membered her years ago, when she and I went to the ' 
Academy together. 

It ia almost an involuntary thing, on such occasions, to 
exclaim, "Who is this)" But Bolton was bo very reticent 
a being that I found it extremely difficult to aak him a 
personal question. There are individuals who unite a 
great winning and sympathetic faculty with great reticence. 
They make i/ou talk, they win your confidence, they are 
interested in you, but they ask nothing from you, and they 
tell you nothing. Bolton was all the while doing obliging 
things for me and for Jim, but he asked nothing from ns; 
and while we felt safe in saying anything in the world 
before him, and while we never felt at the moment that 
conversation flagged, or that there was any deficiency in 
sympathy and good fellowship on his part, yet upon reflec- 
tion we could never recall anything which let us into ths 
interior of his own life-history. 

The finding of this little memento, impresaed me, there- 



fore, oddly, — as if a door had suddenly been opened into 
a. private cabinet where I had no right to look, or an opoQ 
letter which I had no right to read had been inadvertently 
put into my hands, I looked round on Bolton, as he aat 
quietly bending over a book that he was consulting, with 
his pen in hand and his cat at his elbow; but the question 
I longed to ask stuck fast in my throat, and I silently put 
back the picture in its place, keeping the incident to ponder 
in my heart. What with the one pertaining to myself, 
and with the thoughts suggested by this, I found myself in 
a disturbed state that I determined to resist by setting 
myaelf a definite task of so many pages of my article. 

In the evening, when Jim came iii, I recounted my 
adventure and showed him the card. 

He surveyed it with a prolonged whiatle. "Good 
now!" he said; "the ticket sent by the Providence Ex- 
press. I see " — 

"Who are these Van Arsdela, Jim I" 

"Upper tens," said Jim decisively. "Not the oldest 
Tens, but the second batch. Not the old Knickerbocker 
Yanderhoof, and Vanderhyde, and Vanderhorn set that 
Washy Irving tells about, — but the modern nobs. Old 
Van Arsdel does a smashing importing business — is worth 
his millions — has five girls, all handsome — two out — 
two more to come out, and one strong-minded sister who 
has retired from the world, and isn't seen out anywhere. 
The one you saw was Eva; they aay she 's to marry Wat 
Sydney, — the greatest match there is going in New York, 
How do you say — shall you go, WedneBday ! " 

" Do you know them I " 

"Oh yes. Alice Van Arsdel is a splendid girl, and we 
are good friends, and I look in on them sometimes just to 
give them the light of my countoiiuuce. They are always 
after me to lead the german in their parties; but I've 
given that up. Hang it all! it's too steep on a fello^f 



e girls have nothing un- 
e danced all night, tkey 
: twelve o'clock of the 
3 we fellows have to be 



I MEET A VISION 169 

that has to work all day, with no let-up, to be kept 
dancing till daylight with those gitls. It don't pay!" 

"I should think not," said I. 

"You see," pursued Jim, 
der heaven to do, and when they '\ 
go tci bed and sleep till eleven c 
next day and get their rest; whil 
up and in our offices at eight o'clock next morning. The 
fact is, it may do for oace or twice, but it knocks a fellow 
■up pretty fast. It 's a bad thing for the fellows; they get 
to taking wine and brandy and one thing or another to 
keep up, and the Devil only knows what comee of it." 

"And are these Van Aradels in that frivolous set)" 

"Well, you see they are not really frivolous, either; 
they are nice girls, well educated, graduated at the Uni- 
veisal Thingumbob College, where they teach girls every- 
thing that ever baa been beard of, before they are aeven- 
ieen- And then they have lived in Paris, and lived in 
Germany, and lived in Italy, and picked up all the lan- 
guages; BO that when they have anything to say they have 
a choice of four languages to say it in." 

"And have they anything to say worth hearing in any 
of the fourT" said I. 

"Well, yes, now, honor bright. There's Alice Van 
Arsdel: she 's ambitious as the Devil, but, after all, a good, 
warm-hearted girl under it — and smart! there 's no doubt 
of that. " 

"And this lady t " said I, fingering the card. 

"Eval Well, ebe 's had a great run; she 's killing, as 
they say, and she 'b pretty — no denying that ; and, really, 
there 's a good deal to her, — like the sponge cake at the 
bottoni of the trifle, you know, with a good smart flavor of 
vine and spice." 

"And she's engaged to — whom did you sayt" 



170 MY WIFE AND I 

"Wat Sydney." 

" And wbat sort of a man is he ) " 

"What soTtI why, he's a rich man; owns all sorts ot 
thingB, — gold mines in California, and copper mines in 
Lake Superior, and salt works, and tailroads. In fact, the 
thing is to say what he does n't own. Immense head for 
business, — regular ateeUtrap to deal with, — has the snap 
of a pike," 

"Pleasing prospect for a domfistic companion," said I. 

"Oh, as to that, I believe Wat is good- hearted enough 
to his own folks. They say he is very devoted to his old 
mother and a parcel of old-maid aunts, and as be 's rich 
it 'b thought a great virtue, Nobody sings my praises, I 
notice, because I miad my mammy and Aunt Sarah. You 
see, it takes a million-power solar microscope to bring out 
fellows' virtues," 

"Is the gentleman handsome I" 

" Well, if he was poor, nobody would think much of his 
looks. If he had, say, a hundred thousand or two, he 
would be called fair to middling in looks. As it is, the 
girls rave about him. He's been after Eva now for six 
months, and the other girls are ready to tear her eyes out. 
But the ei^agement has n't come out yet. I think she 's 
making np her mind to him." 

"Not in love, then!" 

"Well, she 's been queen so long she 's biases and diffi- 
cult, and likes to play with her fish before she lands him. 
But of course she must have him. Girls like that must 
have money to keep 'em up ; that 's the first requisite. 
I tell you the purple and fine linen of these princesses come 
to something. Now, as rich men go, she 'd find ten worsa 
than Wat where there 'a one better. Then she 'b been out 
three seasons. There 's Alice just come out, and Alice is 
a stunner, and takes tremendously ! And then there 'b 
Angelise, a handsome, spicy little witch, smarter than 



M 



I SIEET A VISION 



171 



either, that is just fluttering, and scratching, and tearing 
her hail with impatience to have her turn. And behind 
Angeline there 'a Marie — she 's got a confounded pair of 
eyes. So you see, there 'a no help for it; Miss Eva must 
abdicate and make room for the next comer." 

"Well," said I, "about this reception!" 

"Oh, go, by all means," said Jim. "It will be fun. 
I'll go with you. You see it's Lent now, thank the 
atara! and so there's no dancing, — only quiet evenings 
and lobster ealad; because, you see, we 're all repenting of 
our sins and getting ready to go at it again after Easter. 
A fellow now tan go to receptions, and get away in time to 
have a night's rest, and the girls now and then talk a little 
sense between whiles. They can talk sense when they 
like, though one wouldn't believe it of 'em. Well, take 
care of yourself, my son, and I '11 take you round there on 
Wednesday evening." And Jim went whistling down the 
stairs, leaving me to finish my article on the Domeatio 
Life of the Ancient Greeks. 

I remember that very frequently that evening, while 
stopping to consider how I should begin the next sentence^ 
I unconsciously embellished the margin of my manuscripts 
by writing "Eva, Eva, Eva Van Aradel " in an absent- 
minded, mechanical way. In fact, from that time, that 
name began often to obtrude itself on every hit of paper 
when I tried my pen. 

The question of going to the Wednesday evening recep- 
tion was settled in the affirmative. What was to hinder 
my taking a look at fairy land in a purely philosophical 
spirit) Nothing, certainly. If she were engaged she was 
nothing to me, — never would be. So, clearly there was 
no danger. 




[Letter fiam Et& Van Andel to Mn. Courtney.] 

My deak FttiKND AND Teacher, — I scarcely dare 
trust mysell to look at the date of your kind letter. Can 
it really be that I have let it lie almoet a year, hoping, 
lueauiiig, eincerely iutending to answer it, and yet doing 
nothing about itl Oh, my dear friend, I was a better 
girl while I waa under your care than 1 am now; in thoae 
times I really did my duties; I never put off things, and 
I came somewhere near satisfying myself. Now, I live in 
a constant whirl — a whirl that never ceases, 1 am carried 
on from day to day, from week to week, from month to 
month, with nothing to show for it except a snccession of 
what girls call "good times." I don't read anything but 
stories; I don't study; I don't write; I don't sew; I 
don't draw, or play, or sing, to any real purpose. I just 
"go into society," as they call it. I am an idler, and the 
only thing I am good for is that I help to adorn a house 
for the entertainment of idlers '~- that is about aU, 

Now Lent has come, and I am thankfui for the rest from 
parties and dancing; but yet Lent makes me blue, because 
it gives me some time to think ; and besides that, when all 
this whirling stops awhile, I feel how diazy and tired it 
haa made me. And then I think of all that you used to 
tell me about the real object of life, and all that I bo sin- 
cerely resolved in my school-days that I would do and be, 
and I am quite in despair about myself. 




THE GIHL or OUR PERIOD 



173 



It ia three years since I really "came out," as the phrase 
goes. Up to that time I was far happier than I have been 
since, because I satisfied myseli better. You always said, 
dear friend, that I was a good scholar, and faithful to every 
duty; and those days, when I had a definite duty for each 
hour, and did it well, were days when I liked myself bet- 
ter than now. I did enjoy study. I enjoyed our three 
years in Europe, too, for then, with much variety and many 
pleasures, I had regular studies; I was learning something, 
and did not feel that I was a mere do-nothing. 

But since I have been going iato company I am perfectly 
sick of myseK. For the first year it was new to me, and 
I was light-headed and thought it glorious fun. It was 
excitement all the time — dressing, and going, and seeing, 
and being admired, and — well, flirting. I confess I liked 
it, and went into it with all my might — parties, balls, 
operas, concerts all the winter in New York, and parties, 
balls, etc., at Newport and 'Saratoga in summer. It waa 
a. sort of prolonged dfilirium. I did n't stop to think about 
anything, and lived like a butterfly, by the hour. Oh, the 
silly things I have said and done! I find myself blushing 
hot when I think of them, because, you see, I am so ex- 
citable, and sometimes am so carried away that afterward 
I don't know what I may have said or done ! 

And now all this is coming to some end or other. This 
going into company can't last forever. We must he mar- 
ried — that's what we are for, they say; that's what all 
this dressing, and dancing, and flying about has got to end 
in. And so mamma and Aunt Maria are on thorns to get 
me off their hands and well eetabliahed. I have been out 
r three seasons. I am twenty-three, and Alice has juat come 

i out, and it is expected, of course, that I retire with honor. 

K I will not stop to tell you that I have rejected about the 
I usual number of offers that young ladies in my position 
H get, and I have n't seen anybody that I care a copper for. 



174 MY WIFB AHO I 

Well, now, in thia crisia comeB thia Mx. Sydney, who 

proposed to me last fall, and I refused point-blank, simply 
and only because I didn't love him, which seemed to me 
at that time reason enough. Then mamma and Aunt Maria 
took up the case, and told me that 1 was a foolish girl to 
throw away such an offer: a man of good character and 
standing, an excellent business man, and so immensely rich 
— with auch a splendid place at Newport, and another in 
New York, and a fortune like Aladdin's lamp I 

I said I didn't love him, and they said I hadn't tried; 
that I could love him if I only made up my mind to, and 
why wouldn't I try! Then papa turned in, who very 
seldom has anything to say to us girls, or about any family 
matters, and eaid how delighted he should be to see me 
married to a man so capable of taking care of me. So, 
among them all, I agreed that I would receive his visits 
and attentions a^ a friend, with a view to trying to love 
him ; and ever since I have been banked up in flowers and 
confectionery, and daily drifting into relations of closer and 
closer intimacy. 

Do I find myself in lovel Not a hit. Frankly, dear 
friend, to tell the awful truth, the tiling that weighs down 
my heart is, that if this man were not so rich I know I 
shouldn't think of him. If he were a poor young man, 
just beginning business, I know I should not give him a 
second thought; neither would mother, nor Aunt Maria, 
nor any of us. But here are all these worldly advantages! 
I confess I am dai-^led by them. I am silly, I am weak, 
I am ambitious. I like to feel that I may have the prize 
of the season — the greatest offer in the market. I know 
I am envied, and oh, dear mel though it's naughty, yet 
one does like to be envied. Besides, to tell the truth, 
though I am not in love with him, I am not in love with 
anybody else. I respect him, and esteem him, and all 
that, in a quiet, negative sort of way, and mothei and 






THE GIKL OF ODH PERIOD 



n»n 



Aunt Maria say everything else will come — after mat- , 
riaga. Will it ) Ib it right t Is this the way I ought to J 
marry 1 

But then, you know, I must marry somebody — tha^ I 
they say, ia a fixed fact. It Beeraa to be understood that ' 
I am a sort of helpless affair, to be taken care of, and that 
now is my time to be disposed of; and they tell me every 
day that if I let this chance go, I shall regret it all my 
life. 

Do you know I wish there were convents that one rould 
go out of the world intol Cousin Sophia Sewell has joined 
the Sisters of St. John, and says she never was so happy. 
She does look so cheerful, and she is so busy from morning 
tiU night, and baa the comfort of doing so much good to 
a lot of those poor little children, that I envy her. 

But I cannot become a Sister. What would mamma say ] 
it she knew I even thought of itt Everybody would think 
me crazy. Nobody would believe how much there is 
me that never cornea to light, nor how miserable it makes 
me to be the poor, half-hearted thing that I am. 

You know, dear friend, about sister Ida's peculiar 
course, and how very much it has vexed mamma. Yet, 
really and truly, I can't help respecting Ida. It seems to 
me slie shows a real strength of principle that I lack. She 
went into gay society only a little while before she gave it 
up, and her reasons, I think, were good ones. She said 
it weakened her health, weakened her mind ; that there 
was no use in it, and that it was just making her physi- 
cally and morally helpless, and that she wanted to live for 
a purpose of her own. She wanted to go to Paris, and 
study for the medical profession; but neither papa, nor 
mamma, nor any of the family would hear of it. But Ida 
persisted that she would do something, and finally papa 
took her into his business, to manage the foreign correspon- 
dence, which she does admirably, putting all her knowledge 



176 MY WIFE AND I 

of languages to account. He gives lier the salary of a con- 
fidential clerk, and she lays it up, with the intention 
finally of carrying her purpose. 

Ida is a good, noble woman, of a etrength and indepen- 
dence perfectly incomprehensible to me. I can desire, but 
I cannot do; I am weak and irresolute. People can talk 
roe round, and do anything with me, and I cannot help 
myself. 

Another thing makes me unhappy. Ida refused to be 
confirmed when I was, because, she said, confirniation was 
only a aham; that the girls were just as wholly worldly 
after as before, and that it did no earthly good. 

Well, you see, I was confirmed; and, oh, dear me I I 
was sincere, God knows. I wanted to be good — to live a 
higher, purer, nobler life than I have lived; and yet, after 
all, it is I, the child of the Church, that am living a life 
of folly, and ahow, and eelf- indulgence ; and it is Ida, who 
doubts the Church, that ie living a life of industry, and 
energy, and seU-deniaL 

Why is it J The world that we promise to renounce, 
that our sponsors promised that we should renounce — what 
is it, and where is it! Do those vows mean anything! if 
60, what! I mean to do all that I ought to; but how to 
know what! There's Aunt Maria, my godmother, she 
did the renouncing for me at my baptism, and promised 
solemnly that I should abjure "the vain pomp and glory 
of the world, with all covetous desires of the same ; that I 
should not follow, or be led by them; " yet she haa never, 
that I see, had one thought of anything else but how to 
secure to me just exactly those very things. That I should 
be first in society, be admired, followed, flattered, and 
make a riob, splendid marriage, has been her very heart's 
desire and prayer; and if I should renounce the vain pomp 
and glory of the world, really and truly, she would bo 
titteriy heartbroken. So would mamma. 



^ 



THE GIHL OF ODE FBBIOD 

I don't mean to lay all the blame on them, either. I 
have been worldly, too, and ambitious, and wanted to J 
ahine, and been only too willing to fall in with all their 
viBws. But it really is hard for a person like me to stand 
alone, against my own heart, and all my relatives, particu- 
larly when I don't know exactly, in each case, what to do, 
and what not; where to begin to reaist, and where to yield. 

Ida says that it is a sin to spend nights in dancing, so 
that one has to lie in bed like an invalid all the next day. 
She says it is a sin to run down one's health for no good 
purpose; and yet we girls all do it — everybody does it. 
We all go from party to party, from concert to ball, and 
from hal! to something else. We dance the german three 
or four nights a week; and then, when Sunday comes, 
Bometimes I find that there is the Holy Conimnnion — and 
then I am afraid to go. I am like the man that had not , 
on the wedding garment. 

It seems to me that our Church services were made for 
real Christians — people like the primitive Christians, who 
made a real thing of it; they gave up everything and went 
down and worshiped in the catacombs, for instance. I 
remember seeing those catacombs where they held their 
church far down under ground, when I was in Eome. 
There would be some meaning in such people's using our 
service, but when I try to go through with it I fear to take 
aach words on my lips, I wonder that nobody seems to 
feel how awful those words are, and how much they must 
mean, if they mean anything. It eeems to me so solemn 
to say to God, as we do say in the Communion service, 
"Hare we offer and present unto Thee, Lord, ourselves, 
out souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living 
sacrifice unto Thee " — 

I see BO many saying this who never seem to think of 
it again; and, oh, my dear friend, I have said it myself 
and been no better afterward, and now, alaal I too oftea 



turn away from the holy ordinance because I feel that it 
is only a mockery to utter them, living as I do. 

About this marriage. Mr. Sydney 18 not at all a reli- 
gious man; he is all for this world, and I don't think I 
shall grow much better by it. I wish there were somebody 
that could strengthen me, and help me to he my better eelf, 
I have dreams of a sort of man like King Arthur, and the 
Knights of the Holy Grail — a man, noble, holy, and reli- 
gious. Such an one I would follow if I broke away from 
every one else; but, alas! no such are in our society, at least 
I never have met any. Yet I have it in me to love, even to 
death, if I found a real hero. I marked a place in a hook 
the other day, which said, "There is not bo much difficulty 
in being willing to die for one as finding one worth dying 
for." I haven't, and they laugh at me as a romantic girl 
when I tell them what I would do if I found my ideal. 

"Well, I suppose you see how it 'a aU likely to end. We 
drift, and drift, and I shouldn't wonder if I drifted at last 
into this marriage. I see it all before me, just what it 
wilt be, — a wonderful wedding, that turns all New York 
topsy-turvy ; diamonds, laces, cashmeres, infinite flowers, 
and tuberoses of course, till one's head aches; clang and 
ding, and hang and buzz ; triumphal processiotis to all the 
watering-places; tour in Europe, and then society life in 
Kew York nd infinitum. 

Oh, dear, if I only conld get up some enthusiasm for 
him ! He likes me, but he don't like the things that I 
like, and it is terribly alow work entertaining him — but 
when we are married we sha'n't see so much of each other, 
I suppose, and shall get on as other folks do. Papa and 
mamma hardly ever see much of each other, but I suppose 
they are all right. Aunt Maria says, love or no love at 
the beginning, it all comes to this sort of Jog-trot at the 
end. The husband is the man that settles the bills, and 
takes care of the family, that 'a alL 



d 



THS GIEL OF ODR PBIHOD 



179] 



Ida says — but I won't tell you what Ida aaya- 
alwaya makes me feel blue. 

Do write me a goc>d scolding letter; rouee me up; shame ] 
me, Ecold me, talk hard to me, and see if yoti can't make 
aomethisg of me. Ferbapa it isn't too late. 

Youi affectionate bad girl, EvA. 

[Latter from Mrs. Courtney to Et» Van Aredel.] 

Mt dkak Child, — You place me in an embarrasaing 
position in asking me to speak on a subject, when your 
parents have already declared their wishes. 

Nevertheless, my dear, I can but remind you that you 
are the chUd of a higher than any earthly mother, and in 
an affair of this moment you should take counsel of our 
holy Church. Take your Prayer- Book and read her solemn 
service, and see what those marriage tows are that you 
think of taking. Are these to be taken lightly and unad~ 
visedly 1 

I recollect, when I was a young girl, we used to read 
"Sir Charles Grandison," and one passage in the model 
Harriet Byron's letters I copied into my acrap-book. Speak- 
ing of one who had proposed to her, she says; "He seema 
to want the mind that I would have the man blessed with 
that I am to vow to love and honor. I purpose whenever 
I marry to make a very good, and even dutiful wife; must 
I not vow obedience, and shall I break my marriage vowl 
I would not, therefore, on any consideration, marry a man 
whose want of knowledge might make me stagger in the 
performance of my duty to him ; who would, perhaps, 
mand from caprice or want of understanding what I 
think unreasonable to he complied with." 

I quote this because I think it is old-fi 
cnse, in a respectable old English novel, worth a dozen of ■ 
the modem school To me, there ia indicated in youz 
deacription of Mr. Sydney just that lack of what you 



would need in a husband, which would make difficult, pei- 
hape iraposaible, the performance of your marriage vowb. 
It is evident that his mind does not imprese yours or con- 
trol youre, and that there are no mental sympathies between 
you. 

That a man is a good business man, that he is fitted to 
secure the rent or taxes of the house one lives in, and to 
pay one's bills, is not all. Think, my child, that this 
man, for whom you can "get up no enthuaiaem, " whose 
company wearies you, is the one whom you are proposing 
to take by the hand before God's altar, and solemnly pro- 
mise that, forsaking all others, you will fteep only unto 
him, so long as you both shall live, to love, to honor, and 
to obey. Can you do it) 

You say you can get up no enthusiasm for this man, yet 
you have a conception of a man for whom you could leave 
all things, whom you could love unto the death. 

It is out of just such marriages, made by girls with just 
such hearts as yours, that come all these troubles that are 
bringing holy marri^e into disrepute in our times. A 
woman marries, thoughtlessly and unadvisedly, a man 
whom she consciously does not love, hoping that she shall 
love him, or that she shall do as well as others do; then 
by accident or chance she is thrown into the society of the 
very one whom she could have loved with enthusiasm, and 
married for himself alone. The modern school of novela 
is full of these wretched stories, and people now are cla- 
moring for free divorce, to get out of marriages that they 
never ought to have fallen into. 

Amid all this confusion the Church stands from age to 
age and teaches. She shows you exactly what you are to 
promise ; she warns you gainst promising lightly, or un- 
advisedly, and I can only refer my dear child to her mo- 
ther's lessons. Marriage vows, like confirmation vows, 
ue recorded in heaven, and must not be broken. 



THE GIRL OP ODH PERIOD 181 

The time for reflectioa ia before they are made. loatead 
of clamoriug for free divorce, as a purifier of marriage, all 
Christians aliould purify it aa the Chureh recommends, by 
the great care with which they enter into it. That ia my 
doctrine, my love. I am a good old English Church- 
woman, and don't believe in any modem theories. The 
teachings of the Prayer-Book are enough for me. I know 
that, in spite of them all, there are thoughtless confirma- 
tion vows and marriage vows daily uttered in our Church, 
but it is not for want of clear and solemn instruction. But 
you, my love, with your conscientiousness, and good sense, 
and really noble nature, will I am Bure act worthily <d 
yourself in this matter. 

Another consideration I suggest to you. This man, 
whom I suppose to be a worthy and excellent man, has hia 
rights. He bas the right to the whole heart of the woman 
he marries — to whom at the altar he gives himself and all 
which he possesses. A woman who has what you call an 
enthusiasm for a man can do much with him. She can 
bear with his faults; she can inspire and lead him; she 
can raise him in the scale of being. But without this en- 
thusiasm, this real love, she can do nothing of the kind; 
it is a thing that cannot be dissembled or affected. And 
after marriage, the man who does not find this in hie wife 
has the best reason to think himself defrauded. 

Now, if for the sake of possessing a man's worldly goods, 
his advantages of fortune and station, you take that rela- 
tion when you really are unable to give him your heart, 
you act dishonestly. You take and enjoy what you cannot 
pay for. Not only that, but yoii deprive him through all 
his life of the blessing of being really loved, which he 
might obtain with some other woman. 

The fact is, you have been highly cultivated in certain 
departments; your tastes would lead you into the world of 
art and literature. He has beeu devoted to business, and 



in that way has amassed & fortune, but he has no know- 
ledge and no habite that would prepare him to sympathize 
with you. 

I am not here undervaluing the worth of those strong, 
sterling qualities which belong to an upright and vigorous 
man. There are many women who are impressed by juet 
that sort of power, and admire it in men, aa they do phy- 
sical strength and courage; it dazzles their imagination, 
and they fall in love accordingly. You happen to have 
another kind of fancy — he is not of your sort. 

But there are doubtless women whom he would fully 
satisfy; who would find him a delightful conipasioa; who, 
in short, would be exactly what you are not, in love with 
him. My dear, men need wives who are in love with 
them. Simple tolerance is not enough to stand the strain 
of married life, and to marry when you cannot truly love 
is to commit an act of dishonesty and injustice. Eemem- 
hering, therefore, that you are about to do what never can 
he undone, and what must make or mar your whole future, 
I apeak this in all sincere plainness, because I am, and ever 
must be, Your affectionate and true friend, 

M. CO0B1 



and evM ■ 



[Ida Van Argd«I l« Hrs. Courtney.] 
My dsab Friend, — I am glad you have written 
you have to Eva. It is perfectly inexpiicable to me that 
a girl of her general strength of character can be ao unde- 
cided. Eva has been deteriorating ever since she came 
from Europe. This fashionable life is to mind and body 
jnst like a hotbed to tender plants in summer, it wilts 
everything down, Eva was a good scholar and I had great 
hopes of her. She had a warm heart; she has really high 
and noble aspirations, but for two or three years past she 
has done nothing but run down her health and fritter away 
her mind on trifles. She is not half tlie girl she was at 



THE GISL OF OUB PKEIOD 



18» ' 



school, either mentally or physically, and I am grieved and 
indignant at the Traste. Her only chance of escape t 
salvation is to marry a true man. ' 

But when people set out as a first requisite that the man 
must be rich, how many are the chances of finding thatf 
The rich men of America are either rich men's sons who, 
from all I have seen of them, are poor trash enough, or 
busineaa men, who have made wealth by tbeir own exer- 
tions. But how few there are who make money who do 
not sacrifice their spiritual and nobler natures to do it? 
How few with whom the making of money is not the be- 
ginning, middle, and end of life, and how little can such 
men do to uphold and elevate the moral nature of a wife ! 

Mr. Sydney is a man, heart, soul, and strength, inter- 
ested in that mighty game of chance and skill by which, in 
America, money is made. He is a railroad king — a prince 
of stocks — a man going with a forty- thousand steam power 
through New York waters. He wants a wife — a brilliant, 
attractive, showy, dressy wife, to keep his house and orna- 
ment his home ; and he is at I^va'e feet, because she is, on 
the whole, the belle of his circle. He chooses en Grand 
Seigneur, and undoubtedly he is as much in love with her 
as such a kind of man can he. But, in fact, be knows 
nothing abovit Eva ; he does not even know enough to know 
the dangers of marrying such a woman. With all ber fire, 
and all her softness, all her restless enthusiasms, her long- 
ings and aspirations and inconsistencies, what could he do 
with her? The man who marries Eva ought to know her 
better than she knows herself, but this man never would 
know her if they lived together an age. He has no traits 
by which to estimate her, and the very best result of the 
marriage will be a mutual laisser oiler of two people who 
agree not to quarrel, and to go their own separate ways, he 



to t 



I world, 
a called 



1 our times a good marriage. 



; and this sort of thing ia 



184 UY WIFE AND T 

I am out of patience with Eva for her very virtues. It 
is her instinct to want to please and to comply, and because 
manima anil Aunt Maria hare set their hearts on this 
match, and because she is empty-hearted and tired, and 
ennuyeuse, she haa no strength to stand up for herself. 
Her very conscientiousnesa weakens her; khe doubts, but 
does not decide. She has just enough of everythiog in 
her nature to get her into trouble, and not enough to get 
her out, A phrenologist told her she needed deetructive- 
nesB. Well, she does. The pain-giving power is a most 
necessary part of a well- organized human being. Nobody 
can ever do anything without the courage to be disagreeable 
at times, which I have plenty of. They do not try to 
control me, or enslave me. Why 1 Because I made my 
declaration of independence, and planted my guns, and got 
ready for war. This is dreadfully unamiable, but it did 
the thing ; it secured peace ; I am let alone. I am allowed 
my freedom, but everybody interferes with Eva. She is 
conquered territory — haa no rights that anybody is hound 
to respect. It provokes me. 

Aa to the religious part of your letter, dear friend, I 
thank you for it. I cannot see things as you do, however. 
To me it appears that in our day everything has got to be 
brought to the simple test of, What good does it do ? If 
baptism, confirmation, and eucharist make unworldly, self- 
denying, self-sacrificing people just as certainly as petunia- 
seed make petunias, why, then, nobody will have any doubt 
of their necessity, and the Church will have its throngs. 
I don't see now that they do. Go into a fashionable party 
I have been in, and watch the girls, and see if you can tell 
who have been baptized and confirmed, and who have not. 

The first Christians carried Christianity over all the 
pomp and power of the world simply by the unworldly life 
they lived. Nobody doubted where the true Church was 
ia those days. Christians were a set of people like nobody 



THE GIEL OF QUE PSBIOD 

else in the world, and whenever and wherever and 1 
whatever meaus that kind of character that they bad J 
created, it will have power. 

I like the Episcopal Church, but I cannot call it the 
church till I see evidences tbat it answers practically ths 
purpose of a church better than any other. For my part 
I go to hear a tlreadtully heretical preacher on Sunday, 
who lecturea in a black coat in a hall, Eimply because he 
talka to me on points of duty which I am anxious to hear 
discuBHed. Eva, poor child, wears down her health and 
strength with night after night in society, and spenda all 
her money on dress ; doing no earthly thing for any living 
creature, except in the pleasure- giving way, like a. bird or 
a flower, and then is shocked and worried about me because 
1 read scientific works on Sunday. 

I make conscience of good health, early hours, thiokjl 
shoes, and mental and bodily drill, and subjection. Pleaae 
God, I mean to do something worthy a Christian v 
before I die, and to open a path through which weaker 
women shall walk out of this morass of fashion- slavery and 
subjection where they flounder now. I take for my motto, 
that sentence from one of Dr. Johnson's allegories you 
once read to ua; "No life pleasing to God that is not use- 
ful to man." I hope, my dear friend, I ehall keep the 
spirit of Christ, though I wander from the letter. Such | 
words as you have spoken to me, however, can never come 
amiss. Perhaps when I am old and wiser, like many 
another self-confident wanderer, I may be glad to come hack 
to my mother's house, and then, perhaps, I shall he a stiff 
little Churchwoman. At all events I shall always be yon» 
loving and grateful pupil. Ida, 

[Eva Van Aradel 10 iBBbel ConTpra.] 

Mr DEAE Belle, — Thanks for your kind letter with 
&11 its congratulations and inquiries, — for though as yel 



186 MT WIFK AND I 

I have no occaaiou for congratulation, and nothing to 
answer to inquiry, I appreciate these all the same. 

No, Belle, the "old sixpence" is not gone yet, — you 
will have to keep to your friend a while longer. I am 
Dot engaged, and you have full liberty to contradict that 
report everywhere and anywhere. 

Mr. Sydney is, of course, very polite, and very devoted, 
very much a friend of the family and all that, but I am 
not engaged to him, and you need never helieve any euch 
thing of me till you hear it directly, under niy own hand 
and seaL 

There have been a lot of engagements in our set lately. 
Lottie Trevillian is going to marry Sim Carringtoo, and 
Bessie Somera has at last decided to take old Watkins — 
though he is twenty-five years older than she; and then 
there 's Cousin Maria Elmore has just turned a splendid 
affair with young Livingstone, really the most brilliant 
match of the winter. I am positively ashamed of myself, 
under these circumstances, to be sitting still, and tmable 
to report progress. My old infelicity in making up my 
mind seems to haunt me, and I dare say I shall live to be 
a dreadful example. 

By the bye, I have had a curious sort of an adventure 
lately. You know when I was up at Englewood visiting 
you last summer, I was just raving over those sonnets on 
Italy, which appeared in the "Milky Way" over the sig- 
nature of "X." You remember those verses on "Fra 
Angelico" and the "Campanile," don't you! Well, I 
have found out who this " X " is. It 's a Mr. Henderson that 
is now in New York, engaged on the stafF of the "Great 
l>emocracy." We girls have noticed him once or twice 
walking with Jim Fellows — (you remember Jim) ; Jim 
says he is a perfect hermit, devoted to study and writing, 
and never goes into society. Well, was n't it odd that the 
fates should have thrown this hermit just in my way 1 



THE GIRL 09 OUR PERIOD 

The other momiDg I came over from Brooklyn, where I 
had been spending three days with Sophia, and when I g 
into the car whom should I aee but this identical Mr. Hen- 
derson right oppoaite to me, I took a quiet note of him, 
between whiles thinking of one or two lines in his sonnet. 
He is nice-looking, manly, that is, and has fine dark eyes. 
Well, do you know, the most provoking thing, when I 
came to pay my fare I found that I had no tickets nor 
small change — what could have possessed me to come eo 
I can't imagine, and mamma makes it all the worse by say- 
ing it 's just like me. However, he interposed and ar- 
ranged it for mo in the nicest and quietest way in the 
world. I was going np to call at Jennings', the other side 
of the Astor House, to see about ray laces, but by the time 
we got there, there came on such a rain as was perfectly 
dreadful. My dear, it was one of those shocking affaire 
peculiar to New York, which really come down by the 
bucketful, and I had nothing for it but to cross Broadway 
as qnick as I could to catch a Fifth Avenue omnibus, and. 
let my laco go till a more convenient season. 

Well, as I stepped out into the storm, who should I find 
quite beside me but this gentleman, with his umbrella over 
my head. I could see at the moment that it had one of 
those quaint handles that they carve in Dieppe. We were 
among cars, and policemen, and trampling horses, and so 
on, but he got me safe into an up-town omnibus, and I felt 
so much obliged to him. 

I supposed, of course, that there it might end, but, 
would you believe it, quite to my surprise, he got into the 
omnibus too! "After all," I said to myself, "perhaps hia 
route lies up town like mine." He wasn't in the least 
presuming, and sat there very quietly, only saying, "Per- 
mit me," as he passed up a ticket for me wben the fare was 
to be paid, so saving me that odious necessity of making 
change with my great awkward bill. I was mortified 



188 MY WIFE AND I 

enough — but knowing who it was, had h sort of internal 
hope that one day I eould apologize and make it all right, 
for, my dear, I determined on the spot that we would in- 
vite him to our receptions, and get Jim Fellows to make 
bini come. I think there is no test of a gentleman like 
the manner in wliich he doea a favor for a stranger ladj 
whom the fates cast upon hia protection. So many would 
he insufferably presuming and assuming — he was just 
right, BO quiet, so simple, bo onpietentious, yet so coneid- 

He rode on very quietly till we were opposite our houae, 
and then was on duty again with his umbrella, up to the 
very door of the house, and holding it over me while we 
were waiting. I could n't help expressing my thanks, and 
asking him to walk in; but he excused himself, giving his 
card, and saying he would be happy to call and inquire 
after my health, etc. ; and I gave him mine, with our 
Wednesday receptions on it, and told him how pleased 
mamma would be to have him call. It was all I could do 
to avoid calling him by his name, and letting him see how 
much I knew about him ; but I did n't. It was rather 
awkward, wasn't iti 

Now, I wonder if he will call on Wednesdays. Jim 
Fellows says he is so shy, and never goes out; and you 
know if there ia anything that can't be had, that is the 
thing one is wild to get; so mamma and all of us are quite 
excited, and wondering if he will come. Mamma is all 
anxiety to apologize, and all that, for the trouble I have 
given him. 

It's rather funny, isn't it — an adventure in prosaic old 

New York 1 I dare say, now, he has forgotten all about 

it, and never will think of coming into such a trifling set 

BB we girls are. Well, I will let you know if he comes. . 

Ever your affectionate Eva. 



CHAPTER XVI 

I AM INTRODUCED INTO 80C1ETT 

Bolton and I were sitting, up to our ears in 
which had been accumulating for notice for days past, and 
which I was turning over and dipping into here and there 
with the jaded, half- disgusted air of a child worn out by 
the profusion of a Thanksgiving dinner. 

" I feel perfectly savage, " I said. " What a never-ending 
harvest of trash ! Two, or at the most three, tolerable ideaa, 
turned and twisted in some novel device, got up in large 
print, with wide margins — and, behold, a modem bookl 
I would like to he a black frost and nip them all in a night ! " 

"Your dinner didn't agree with you, apparently," said 
Bolton, as he looked up from a new scientific work he waa 
patiently analyzing, making careful notes along the margin; 
"however, turn those hooks over to Jim, who understands 
the hop, skip, and jump style of criticism. Jim has about 
a dozen or two of blank forma that only need the name of 
the book and publisher inserted, and the work is done." 

"What a perfect farce," said I. 

"The notices are as good as the books," said Bolton. 
" Something has to be said to satisfy the publishers and do 
the handsome thing by them ; and the usual string of com- 
mendatory phrases and trite criticism, which mean nothing 
r in particular, I presume imposes upon nobody. It is 

merely a form of announcing that such and such wares are 
L in the market. I fancy they have very little influence on 

■ public opinion." 

I "But do you think," said I, "that there is any hope of 



190 MY WIFE AND I 

a juat school of book criticism — something that Ehonld be 
a real guide to buyers and leaders, and a real instruction to 
writers 1 " 

"Tlint ia a large question," said Bolton, "and a matter 
beset with serious difficulties. While books are a matter 
of commerce and trade; while magazines which criticise 
books are tlje property of booksellers, and newspapers de- 
pend on them for advertising patronage, it is too much to 
expect of human nature that we should always get wholly 
honest, unbiased opinions. Then, again, there is tha 
haste, and rush, and hurry of our times, the amount of 
literary driftwood that is all the while accumulating! 
Editors and critics are but mortal men, and men kept, as 
a general thing, in the last agonies of weariness and bore- 
dom. There is not, for the roost part, eenBibility enough 
left to enable them to read throngh or enter into the pur- 
port of one book in a hundred ; yet, for all this, you do 
observe here and there in the coliimns of our best papers 
car(!f\illy studied and seriously written critiques on books; 
these are hopeful signs. They show a conscientious effort 
on the part of the writers to enter into the spirit of ths 
work, and to give their readers a fair account of it; and, 
if I mistake not, the number of such is on the increase." 

"Well," said I, "do you suppose there is any prospect 
or possibility of a constructive school of criticism — honest, 
yet kindly and sympathetic, that shall lead young authors 
into right methods of perfecting themselves T" 

"We have a long while to wait before that comes," said 
Bolton. "Who is appreciative and many-sided enough to 
guide the first efforts of genius just coming to conscious- 
ness! How many could profitably have advised Haw- 
thorne when his peculiar Rembrandt style was just form- 
ing 1 As a race, we Anglo-Saxons are so self-sphered that 
we lack the power to entor into the individuality of anothet 



I AM INTRODUCED INTO SOCIETY 191 

" English criticiBm has generally been uaappreci alive and 
brutal; it has dissected butterflies and humming-birds with 
mallet and cleaver — witness the review that murdered 
Kfiats, and witnesB in the letters of Charlotte Bronte the 
perplexity into which sensitive, conseientioua genius was 
thrown by obstreperous, conflicting criticism, The moat 
helpful, because most appreciative reviews, she says, came 
to her from France." 

"I suppose," said I, "that it ia the dramatic element in 
the French character that fits them to be good literary crit- 
ics. They can enter into another individuality. One 
woulii think it a matter of mere common sense, that in 
order to criticise justly you must put yourself for the time 
being as nearly as possible at the author's point of sightj 
form a sympathetic estimate of what he is striving to do, 
and then you can tell how nearly he attains his purpose. 
Of this delicate constructive criticism, we have as yet, it 
seems to me, almost no specimens in the English language. 
Sainte-Beuve has left models in French, in this respect, 
which WQ should do well to imitate. We Americans are 
a good-natured set, and our criticism inclines to comity and 
good-fellowship far more than to the rude hluntness of out 
English neighbors ; and if we could make this discrimi- 
nating as well as urbane, we should get about the right 

Our conversation was interrupted here by Jim Fellows, 
who came thundering upstairs, singing at the top of his 



"Bless my soul, man, why aren't yon dresauig) Aren't 
70U going up to the garden of Eden with me to-ntgbt, to 
see the woman, and the serpent, and all thati" he said, 
collaring me without ceremony, "Come away to your 
bower, and eurl your nut-hrown hair; for 



' Time I 



e prelty galB ia.' " 



And thus singing, Jim whirled me down the stairs, and 
tumbled me into my room, and went into his, where 
heard him accompanying his toilet operations with very 
loud selections from the last comic opera, beating time with 
his hair-brush in a bewildering manner. 

Jim was certainly a natural curiosity in respect to the 
eternal, unceasing vivacity of his animal spirits, which 
were in a state of effervescence from morning to night, 
frothing out in some odd freak of drollery or buffoonery. 
There was not the amaUest use in trying remonstrance or 
putting on a sober face: his persistence, and the endless 
variety of liis queer conceits, would have overcome the 
gravity of the saddest hermit that ever wore sackcloth and 
ashes. 

Bolton had become accustomed to see him bursting into 
his room at all hours, with a breeze which fluttered all his 
papers, and generally sat back resignedly in his chair, and 
laughed in helpless good-nature, no matter how untimely 
the interruption. "Oh, it's Jim I" he would say, in 
tones of comic resignation. "It 'a no use; he must have 
bis fling ! " 

"Time 's up," said Jim, drumming on my door with Mb 
hair- brush when his toilet was completed. "Come on, my 
boy, ' Let us haste to Kelvyn Grove. ' " 

I opened my door, and Jim took a paternal survey of 
me from neck-doth to boot-toe, turning me round and in- 



id 



I AU IHTfiODCCED INTO SOCISTT 

specting me on all aides, as ii I had been a Sunday -schc»ol. I 
boy, dreaaed for an exhibition. 

"Those girls have such confounded sharp eyes," 
marked, " a fellow needs to be well got up. Yes, you '11 I 
do; and you're not bad looking, Hal, either, all things 1 
considered," headded encouragingly, "Comealong. 
got lots of things to make a aenaation with among the giilfi 
to-night. " 

" What, for example ? " 

"Oh, I've been investigating round, and know sundry 
little interesting particulars as to the new engagement just 
declared. I know when the engagement ring was got, and 
what it coat, and where the bride's jewels are making up, 
and what they are to be — all secrets, you understand, of 
the very deadest door-nail kind. But Jim knows them I 
Oh yesl — you'll see the flutter I'll make in the roost 
to-night I I say, if you want to cultivate your acquain- 
tance with Mias Eva there, I '11 draw all the rest off, and 
keep 'em ho wide awake round me that they '11 never think ] 
what becomes of you." 

I must confess to feeling not a little nervous in 
prospect of my initiation into society, and regarding with 
a secret envy the dashing, easy assurance of Jim. I called 
him in my heart something of a coxcomb, but it was with 
a half-amused tolerance that I allowed him to patronize 



The experience of a young man who feels that he has 
his own way in life to make, and all whose surroundings [ 
must necessarily be of the most rigid economy, when 1 
enters the modern sphere of young ladyhood, is like s 
sudden change from Nova Zembla to the tropics. Hia is 
a world of patient toil, of hard effort, of dry drudgery, of I 
severe eoonomiea; while our young American princesses, 
his social equals, whose society fascinatea him, to whose I 
acquaintance he aspires, live like the fowls of the air or the ] 



194 



VY WIFE AND I 



lilies of the field, witlio«t a thought of labor, or a care, or 
Berious responsibiiitj of any kind. TLey are "gay crea- 
tures of the element," living to enjoy and to amuse them- 
eelves, to be fostered, sheltered, dresBed, petted, and made 
to have "good times" generally. In England, there are 
men bom to just this life and position, — hereditary pos- 
sessors of wealth, eafie, and leisure, and therefore able to 
be hereditary idlers and triflera — to live simply to spend 
and to enjoy. But in America, where there are no laws 
to keep fortunes in certain families, fortunes, as a general 
rule, must he made by their possessors, and young men 
must make them. The young, unmarried women, there- 
fore, remain the only aristocracy privileged to live in idle- 
ness, and wait for their duties to come to them. 

The house to which I was introduced that night was one 
of those New York palaces that are furnished with eclectic 
taste, after a survey of all that Europe has to give. The 
suites of rooms opened into each other in charming vista, 
and the walls were hung with the choicest paintings. It 
was evident that cultured skill and appreciation had pre- 
sided over the collection of tlie endless objects of artistic 
elegance and veHu which adorned every apartment; it was 
no vulgar display of wealth, but a selection which must 
have been the result of study and care. 

Jim, acting the part of master of ceremonies, duly pre- 
sented me to Mr. and Mrs, Van Arsdel, and the bevy of 
young ladies, whose eyes twinkled with dangerous merri- 
ment aa I made my bow to them. 

Mr. Van Arsdel was what one so often sees in these pal- 
aces, a simple, quiet, silent man, not knowing or caring a 
bodle about any of the wonders of art and luxury with 
, which his womankind have surrounded him, and not pre- 
tending in the least to comprehend them ; but quietly in- 
dulgent to the tastes and whims of wife and daughters, of 
whose superior culture he is secretly not a little proud. 



I AM nrntODUCED IITTO SOCIETT IW 

In Wall street Mr. Van Aredel held up hia head, 
found much to say; hia air was Napoleonic; in short, tkere 
bis foot waa on hie native heath. But In his own houee, 
among Cuypa, and Frferes, and Rembrandts, and Fra An- 
gelicOB, with a set of polyglot daughters who spake with 
tongues, he walked softly, and expressed himself with 
humility, like a sensible man. 

Mrs. Van Arsdel had been a beauty from hei youth, 
had come of a family renowned for belles, and was atill a 
very handsome woman, and, of course, versed in all those 
gentls diplomacies and inetFable arts and crafts by which 
the sons of Adam are immediately swayed and governed. 
Never was stately swan sailing at the bead of a brood of 
fair young cygnets more competent to leadership than she 
to marshal her troop of bright, handsome daughters through 
the straits of girlhood to the high places of matrimony. 
She read, and classi^ed, and ticketed, at a glance, every 
young man presented to her, yet there waa not a shade of 
the Bcrutiny dimming the bland cordiality of her reception. 
She waa winning, warming, and charming; fully alive to 
the eclat of a train of admirers, and to the desitablenesa of 
keeping up a brilliant court, 

"Mr. Henderson," she said, with a rich, mellow laugh, 
"I tell Eva there is some advantage, first or last, in almost 
everything. One of ber scatter-brained tricks has brought 
us the pleasure of your acquaintance." 

"Mamma has such a shacking way of generalizing about 
US girls," said Eva; "if we once are caught doing a thing 
she talks as if we made a regular habit of it. Now, I have 
come over from Brooklyn hundreds of times, and never failed 
to have the proper change in my purse till this once." 

" I am to regard it, then, as a special piece of good foi- 
tane, sent to 7ne ? " said I, drawing somewhat nearer, as 
Mrs. Van Arsdel turned to receive some new arrivals, 

I had occasion this evening to admire the facility with 



I 



196 MY -WIFE AND I 

which Jim fulfilled his promise of absorbing to himself the 
attention of the young hosteBSCH, and leaving me the advan- 
tage of a tete-a-tete with mj new acquaintance. I could 
eee him at this moment, seated by Miss Alice, a splendid, 
brilliant brunette, while the two pretty younger sisters, not 
yet supposed to be out, were seated on ottomans, and all 
in various stages of intense excitement. I could hear: — 

"Oh, Mr. Fellows, now, you must tell ubI indeed, I am 
quite wild to know! how could you find it outi" in vari- 
ous, eager tones. Jim, of course, was as fully aware of 
the importance of a dramatic mystery as a modem novel- 
writer, and pursued a course of most obdurate provocation, 
letting out only such glimpses and sparkles of the desired 
intelligence tm served to inflame curiosity, and hold the 
attention of the circle concentrated upon himself. 

"I think you are perfectly dreadful! Oh, Mr. Eellowa, 
it really is a shame that you don't tell us; really now I 
shail break friendship with you," — the tones here became 
threatening. Then Jim struck a tragic attitude, and laid 
his hand on his heart, and declared that he was a martyr, 
and there was more laughing, and such a chatter and con- 
fusion of tongues that nothing definite could be made out. 

The length of time that young people, from eighteen to 
twenty, and even upward, can keep themselves in ecstasies 
of excitement, with such small stock of real things of any 
sort to say, is something that invariably astonishes old and 
sober people, who have forgotten that they once were in 
this happy age, when everything made them laugh. There 
was soon noise enough, and absorption enough, in the little 
circle — widened by the coming in of one or two other 
young men — to leave me qnite unnoticed, and in the back- 
ground. This was not to be regretted, as Miss Eva as- 
aumed with a charming ease and self-possession that rfile of 
hospitality and entertainment for which I fancy our yonng 
American princess has an especial talent. 



/ 



I AM INTRODUCED INTO aOCIETT 

"Do you know, Mr. Henderson," she said, "we ecarceljr' 
expected you, as we hear you never go out." 

" Indeed ! " said I. 

"Oh yea! your frieud, Mr. Fellows there, has presented! 
you to us in moat formidable aapects — auch a Di< 
so devoted to your tub ! no getting you out on any terms ! " ^ 

"I'm sure," I answered, laughing, "I wasn't 
that I had ever had the honor of being discussed in your 
circle at all." 

"Oh, indeed, Mr. Henderson, you gentlemen who make 
confidants of the public are often known much better thoa ^ 
you know. I have felt acquainted with many of your I 
thoughts for a long while." 

What writer ia insenaible to such flattery as thist espe- i 
ciolly from the prettiest of lips. I confess I took to this 
sort of thing kindly, and was ready if possible for a little 
more of it. I began to say to myself how charming it waa 
to find beauty and fashion united with correct liteiar; ■ 

"Now," she said, aa the rooms were rapidly filling, "let ' 
me show you if I have not been able to read aright some 
of your tastea. Come into what I call my ' Italy. ' " She 
lifted a portiire, and we stepped into a charming little bou- 
doir, furnished ia blue satin, whose walls were finished in 
compartments, in each of which hung a copy of one of Fra | 
Angelico'a angels. Over the white marble mantel was a 
superb copy of "The Paradise." "There," she said, turn- 
ing to me, with a frank smile, " am I not right 1 " 

"You are, indeed, Miss Van Aradel. What beautiful | 
copies! They take me hack to Florence." 

"See here," she added, opetiing a velvet case, " 
eomething that I know you noticed, for I read what yoa. j 
thought of it." 

It was an exquisite copy of that rarest little gem of Fi» J 
Angelico's painting, "The Death-Bed of the Virgin Mary,'" 



ITO MY WIFE AND I 

— in time past the theme of aame of my verees, which 
Miss Van Arsdel thus graciously recalled. 

"Do you know," she said, "the only drawback, when 
one reads poems that exactly express what one would like 
to say, is that it makes us envious; one thinks, why 
could n't / have said it thus ? " 

"Miss Tan Arsdei," said I, "do you remember the lines 
of Longfellow, ' I shot an arrow into the air ' ) " 

" What are they ) " she aaid. 

I repeated : — 



' I breathei) a soni^ into t 
It fell to earth, I knew 
For -wlio hft? night «o ki 



■a beginning to end. 



"Do you know," I said, "that this expresses exactly 
what a poet wants! It is not admiration, it is sympathy. 
Poems are test papers, put in the atmosphere of life to 
detect this property ; we can find by them who really feel 
with us; and those who do, whether near or far, are 
friends. The making of friends is the most precious gift 
for which poetic utterance is given." 

"I don't think," said she, "you should say 'make 
friends ' — friends are discovered, rather than made, There 
are people who are in their own nature friends, only they 
don't know each other; but certain things like poetry, 
music, and painting, are like the Freemasons' signs — they 
reveal the initiated to each other." 

And BO on we went, delicioualy talking and ranging 



I AM INTRODUCED INTO SOCIETY 

through portfolioa of engravings that took us through 
daya ; rambling through all oui sunny Italian life, up 
Campanile, through the old Duomo; sauntering through 
the ilexea of the Boboli Garden ; comparing notes on tha 
pictures in the Pitti and the Bfille Arti — in short, we had 
one of that hleeaed kind of times which comes when two 
enthusiasts go back together over the brightest and sun- 
niest passages of their experience. My bead swam; a. 
golden haze was around me, and I was not quite certain 
whether I was in the body or not. It seemed to me that 
we two must always have known each other, so very simple 
and natural did it seem for us to talk together, and to un- 
derstand one another. "But," she said, suddenly checking 
herself, " if we - get to going on all these things there is no 
end to it, and I promised sister Ida that I would preeenl 
you in her study to-night." 

"Seems to me it is so very delightful here!" said I 
deprecatingly, not well pleased to come out of my dream, 

"AL, but you don't know, Mr. Henderson, this pro- 
posed presentation is a special honor. I assure you that 
this is a distinction that is almost never accorded to any of 
our callers; you must know sister Ida has retired from the 
world, and given herself up to the pursuit of wisdom, and 
it ia the rarest thing on earth that she vouchsafes to care 
for seeing any one." 

"I should be only too much flattered," said I, as I 
followed my guide across a hall, and into a little plainly 
furnished study, whose air of rigid simplicity contrasted 
with the luxury of all the other parts of the house. 



S 





Seated, reading by a shaded stady-lamp, was a young 
woman of what I shonild call the Jeaoie Deans order — 
one whoee whole personal appearance indicated that sort of 
compact, efficient union of eaei^ and simplicity character- 
istic of the Scottish heroine. Her hair, of a pretty curly 
brown, was cut short, k la Rosa Bonbeur; her complexion 
glowed with a sort of a wholesome firmness, indicative of 
high health; her lai^e, serious gray eyes bad an expression 
of quiet resolution, united with careful observation. Her 
figure inclined to the short, stout, and well-compacted order, 
which gave promise of vitality and power of endurance — 
without preteneiona to beauty. There was a wholesome, 
thoughtful cheerfulness and good-humor in the expression of 
the face that made it decidedly preposBesGing and attractive. 

The furniture of the room, too, was in contrast with all 
the other appointments of the bouse. It was old and 
worn, and of that primitive kind that betokened honest 
and respectable mediocrity. There was a quaint, old-fash- 
ioned writing-desk, with its array of drawers and pigeon- 
boles; there were old slippery wooden armchairs, unre- 
lieved by cushions; while the floor was bare, excepting in 
front of the fi.re, where it was covered by a large square of 
what New England housekeepers call rag-carpet. The 
room, in fact, was furnished like the sitting-room of an 
old Kew England farmhouse. A cheerful, bountiful wood 
fire, burning on a pair of old-fashioned brass andirons, 
added to the resemblance. 



J 



THE YOUNG LADY PHILOSOPHER 

"You see, Mr. Henderaon," said Miss Eva, when I hactj 
been introduced and seated, "you are now in the preaenoel 
of Miss Van Aradel proper. This room ia papa's and Ida's I 
joint territory, where their own tastea and notions hava ' 
supreme sway; and so, you see, it is sacred to the nit 
of the past. There is all the old furniture that helonged 
to papa when be was man'ie4. Poor man ! he has heen 
pushed out into grandeur, step by step, till this was all 
that remained, and Ida opened an asylum for it. Do you 
know, this is the only room in the house papa cares much 
for. You see, he was born on a farm, dear gentleman, 
and he has an inveterate yearning after primitive simplicity | 
— hucklehen iaa and milk, you know, and all that. Don't I 
this look like the old ' keeping-room ' atylel" 

"Yes," said I, "it looks like home. I know rooms jurf | 
like it." 

"But I like these old primitive things," said Ida. "I 
like hardness and simplicity, I am sick to death of soft- 
ness and perfumed cushions and ease. We women are 
sweltered under down beds, and smothered with luxuiiea, 
in our modern day, till all the life dies out of us, I want 
to live while I live, and to keep myself in such trim that 
I can do something — and I won't pet myself nor bo 



"There," said Eva, laughing, "blood will tell; there's 
the old Puritan broken loose in Ida, She don't believe 
any of their doctrines, but she goea on their track. She 'b 
just like a St. Bernard dog that ahe brought home once. 
As soon aa snow came, he was wild to run out and search 
in it, and used to run off whole days in the woods, just 
because hia ancestors were trained to hunt travelers. Ida 
ia as bent on testifying and going against the world as any 
old Covenanter. " 

"The world needs going against," said Ida. "By the ' 
bye, Mr. Henderson, yon must allow me to thank you i 



your article on the Woman of our Times, in the ' Milky 
Way.' It is bracing, and will do good." 

"And I," said Eva, kindling with a sort of flame-like 
Tivacity, "have been perfectly dying to tell you that you 
don't know us faehionahle girls, and that we are not, after 
all, Buch poor trash as you seem to think. All the out-of- 
jointneas of Boeiety is not our fault." 

"I protest, Misa Eva," said I, astonished at the eager- 
ness of hor manner. "I'm sure I don't know what I 
have said to give that impression." 

"Oh, I dare say not. You have only used the good 
stock phrases and said the usual things. You reformers 
and moralists, and all that, have got a way of setting us 
girls down as sinners as a matt«r of course, so that you 
never think when you do it. The ' dolls of fashion,' the 
'butterflies,' etc., etc., are used to point the moral and 
adorn the tale. The girl of the period is the scapegoat for 
all the naughty things going. Now, I say the girl of the 
period isn't a particle worse than the boy of the period; 
and I think reformers had better turn their atteution to 
him." 

"But I don't remember," said I, astonished and con- 
fused at the sudden vivacity of this attack, " that I said 
anything." 

" Oh yes, but I do. You see, it 's the party that 's hit 
that knows when a blow is struck. You see, Mr, Hender- 
son, it is n't merely you, but everybody, from the London 
' Spectator ' down, when they get on their preaching- caps, 
and come forth to right the wrongs of society, begin about 
us — our dressiness, our expensiveness, our idleness, our 
extravagance, our heartlessnesa. The men, poor, dear 
creatures, are led astray and ruined by us. It 's the old 
story of Adam, ' The woman beguiled me. ' " 

" You see, " said Ida, laughing, "Eva's conscience tron- 
blea her; that 's why she 's so sensitive." 



fe run 

H ehe 



THE yOHNG LADY PHILOSOPHER S 

"Well, that's the truth," said Eva. "I'm in the 
world, and Ida has gone out of it; and so she can sit by, 
all serene, when hits are made at us, and say, ' I told you 
so. ' But, you see, / am in, and am all the whUe sure 
that about half what they say of us is true, and that makeo 
me sensitive when they say too much. But, I insist upon 
it, it isn't all true; and if it is, it isn't our fault. We 
are in the world just as we are in a raUroad car, and we 
can't help its carrying us on, even if we don't like the 
places it takes us through." 

"Unless you get out of it," said Ida. 

"Yes; but it takes courage to get out alone, at some 
desolate way station, and set up your tent, and make your 
way, and have everybody in the cars screaming remon- 
strances or laughing at you. Ida has the courage to do it, 
but I haven't. I don't believe in myself enough to do it, 
BO I stay in the car, and wish I didn't, and wish we were 
all going a better way than we do." 

"No," said Ida; "women are brought up in a way to 
smother all the life out of them Al] literature from the 
earliest ages teaches them that it is graceful to be prettj 
and helpless; they aspire to he superficial and showy. 
They are directed to look on themselves as fiowers: — 

' Gay wilhoot toil, and lovely without art, 

They epring to cbeer the BSnse, and -warm the heart; .^ 

Nor bluah, my fair, to bo compared to thflse — ' 

Your tiasl, your nableat miBeion, is topltaic' " 

"'Well,"Baid Eva, flushing, "wasn't it a maw that wrote 
that? and don't they always misunderstand us) We ars 
soft — we are weak — we do love beauty, and ease, and 
comfort ; but there is a something in ua more than they givo 
us credit for. Where is that place in Carlyle t " she said, 
rising with a hasty impulse, and taking down a volume, and 
rtinniiig rapidly over the leaves. "Oh, here it is!" and 
ehe read with energy from Carlyle's "Hero Worship:" — 



204 MY WIFE AND I 

" 'It is a calumny to say that men are nerved to heroic 
action by ease, hope of pleasure, recompense — sugar- plums 
of any kind — in this world or the next. In the meanest 
mortal there is something nobler. The poor, swearing 
soldier, hired to be shot, has his honor of a soldier differ- 
ent from drill, regulations, and the shilling a day. It is 
not to taste sweet things, but to do noble and true things, 
and vindicate himself under God's heaven as a Gixl-made 
man, that the poorest son of Adam dimly longs. Show 
him the way of doing that, and the dullest drudge kindles 
into a hero. 

" ' They wrong man greatly who say he is to be seduced 
by ease. Difficulty, abnegation, martyrdom, death, are 
allurements that act on the heart of man. Kindle the 
inner genial life of liim, and you have a flame that bums 
up all lower considerations,' 

"Now," slie said, her face glowing, and bringing down 
her little fist with emphasis, "that is true of women as 
well as men. They wrong woman greatly who say she is 
to be seduced by ease. Difficulty, abnegation, martyrdom, 
death, are allurements that act on the heart of woman. 
Now, Mi. Henderson, every woman that is a woman feels 
this in the depths of her heart, and it is this feeling sup- 
pressed that is at the bottom of a great deal of unhappiness 
in woman's life. You men have your chance to express it 
— that is your great good fortune. You are called to be 
heroes — your hour conies — but we are buried under eter- 
nal commonplaces and trifles." 

"Yet, Misa Eva," said I, "I don't think we are ao very 
much better off than you. The life of the great body of 
men is a succession of mere ignoble drudgeries, with no- 
thing great or inspiring. Unless we learn to ennoble the 
commonplace by a heroic spirit, most of us must pass 
through life with no expression of this aspiration; and I 
think that more women succeed in doing this than men — 



THE TOCNG LADT PHILOSOPHEE 

in fact, I tMnk it is the distinctive prerogative of v 
to idealize life by shedding an ennobling spirit upon i 
very trifles." 

"That is true," she said frankly; "but I confess 
never occurred to me; yet don't you think it harder to be ' 
heroic in every-day affairs J " 

"Certainly; but those that can inspire commonplace 
drudgery with noble and heroic meanings are the true 
heroes. There was a carpenter once in Nazareth who 
worked thirty years quietly at his bench ; but who doubts 
that every stroke of that work was inspired and heroic, as 
much as the three public years that followed! And there 
are women, like him, toiling in poverty — hard-working 
wives, long-Buifering mothers, whose every breath is heroic. 
There can be no commonplace where auch noble creatures g 
live and suffer." 

"Yes, Mr. Henderson," said Ida, "heroism can be ia ] 
nny life that is a u-ork-Ute — and life which includes en- i 
ergy and self-denial. But fashionable life is based on mere 
love of ease. All it seeks ia pleasurable sensation and 
absence of care and trouble, and it starves this heroic capa- 
bility ; and that is the reason, as Eva says, why there is so 
much repressed unhappiness in women. It is the hunger 
of starving faculties. What are all these girls and women 
looking for! Amusement, excitement. What do they 
dread more than anything 1 Eft'ort, industry, self-denial. 
Not one of them can read a serious book through — not 
because they are not able, but because it. takes an effort. 
They read nothing but serial stories, and if there is much I 
thought in them, they skip it, to get at the story, 
the education they get in schools lies idle ; they do nothing 
with it, as a general thing. They neither read, write, nor 
speak their French, Italian, or German — and what is the 
use of having got them 1 Men study languages as a key i 
to literature, and use literature for some purpose; 



SOT MT WIFE AND I 

study only to forget. It does not take four languages and 
all the ologiea to enable them to dance the german and com- 
pose new styles of trimming. They might do all they do 
equally as well without these expensive educations as with " — 

"There now, you have got sister Ida on her pet topic," 
said Eva, with heightened color; "she will take up her 
prophecy now, and give it to us wicked daughters of Zion ; 
but, after all, it only makes one feel worried and bad, and 
one does n't know what to do. We don't make the world ; 
we are born into and find it ready made. We find certain 
things are custonia — certain things are expected of us — 
and we begin to say A, and then we must say B, and so 
on through the whole alphabet. We don't want to say B, 
but we must because we have said A. It isn't every one 
that is brave and strong enough to know where to atop, 
and face the world, and say, ' No, I will not do it.' We 
must keep step with our neighbors." 

"Well," said Ida, "who is it that says, 'Be not con- 
formed to the world ' ! " 

"Yes, I know," said Eva; "there's the Bible — there 
are all the lessons and prayers and hymns of the Church 
all going one way, and our lives all going the other — all 
our lives — everybody's life — even nice people's lives — 
all go the other way; except now and then one. There 'a 
our new rector, now, he is beginning to try to bring us up 
to live as the Church directs ; but mamma and Aunt Maria, 
and all of them, cry out that he is High Church, and going 
to Fopery, and all that ; they say that if one is to live as 
he says, and go out to prayers morning and evening, and 
to Holy Communion every Sunday, it will just upset our 
whole plan of life, that one might aa well go into a convent 
— and so it will. One can't be in parties ail night, and 
go to prayers every morning; one can't go through that 
awful Holy Communion every Sunday, and live as we gen- 
erally do through the week. All our rector is trying to 



d 



THE TOUNG LADY PHILOSOPHER 



30fJ 
i he tvanta I 



1 of a blacksmith t why can't 
e differences of power in mind 



do ia simply to make a reality of o 
UB to carry out in good faith what is kid dov 
Prayer-Book; but you see we can't do it without giving up ' 
the world as we have it arranged now. For my part, I 'i 
going to the daily serviceB in Lent, if I don't any other 
time, and though it does make me feel dreadfully wicked 
and uncomfortable." 

"Oh, you poor child!" eaid Ida; "why haven't yoa 
strength to do as you please ! " 

"Why haven't I the an 
I walk ten miles 1 There ai 
08 well aa body," said Eva, 

The conversation was interrupted at this moment by 
Mr. Van Arsdel, who entered quietly, with his spectadea 
and newspapers. 

"The children are having lively times in there," he 
said, "and I thought I'd just come here and ait when 
it 's qniet, and read my papers." 

"Papa says that every evening," said Eva. 

"Well, the fact is, Mr. Henderson," said he, with a 
confiding sort of simplicity, "Ida and I feel at home in 
"here, because it 's just the little old place wife and I had 
when we began. You see, these are all my old things that 
we first went to housekeeping with, and I like them, I 
did n't want to have them sent off to auction, it they are 
old and clumsy." 

"And he should have them, so he should, pa-sey dear," 
said Eva caressingly, putting her arm round bis neck. 
"But come, Mr. Henderson, I suppose the gay world out- 
side will expect us.' 

risen and was looking over the library. It waa ' 
I of modem scientific and physiological 



I had 

largely 

works. 
"You 
"Ida'f 



ee my light reading," said Ida, with a smile. 
books are a constant reproach to me," said Evaj 



UT WIFE AKD 1 

" but I dip in now and then, and fish up some wonderful 
pear] out of them; howevor, I confesa to just the fatal 
laziness she teprobatea — I don't go through anything. " 

"Well, Mr. Henderson, we won't keep you from the 
world of the parlors," said Ida; "but consider you have 
the entree hero whenever you want a quiet talk; and we 
will be friendfi," she said, stretching out her hand with the 
air of a queen. 

"You honor me too much, Mias Van Arsdel," said I. 

"Come now, Mr, Henderson, we can't allow our princi- 
pal literary lion to be kept in secret places," said Mias 
Eva. "You are expected to walk up and down and show 
yourself; there are half a dozen girls to whom I have 
promised to present you." 

And in a moment I found myself standing in a brilliant 
circle of gay tropical birds of fashion, where beauty, or the 
equivalent of beauty, charmingness, was tlie rule, and not 
the exception. In foreign lands, my patriotic pride had 
often been fed by the enthusiasm excited by my country- 
women. The beauty and grace of American women, their 
success in foreign circles, has passed into a proverb; and 
■in a New York company of young girls one is really dazzled 
by prettineas. It is not the grave, grand, noble type of 
the Madonna and the Venus di Milo, but the delicate, bril- 
liant, distracting prettiness of young birds, kittens, lambs, 
and flowers — something airy and fairy — belonging to 
youth and youthful feeling. You see few that promise to 
ripen and wax fairer in middle life; but almost all are like 
delicate, perfectly blossomed Bowers — fair, brilliant, and 
graceful, with a fragile and evanescent beauty. 

The manners of our giris have been criticised, from the 
foreign standpoint, somewhat severely. It is the very 
nature of republican institutions to give a sort of uncon- 
ventional freedom to its women. There is no upper world 
of court and aristocracy to make laws for them, or preee 



THE YOUNG LADT FHTL080PHEE 



2091 



i 



down a framework of etiquette upon them. Individual I 
freedom of opinion and action pervades every school; it is i 
breathed in the very air, and each one is, in a great degree, 
a law unto herself. Every American girl feels herself in 
the nobility ; she feels adequate to the situation, and per- 
fectly poised in it. She dares do many things not per- 
mitted in foreign lands, because she feels strong in herself, i 
and perfectly sure of her power. Yet he who should pre- 
sume on this frank generosity of manner will find that 
Diana has her arrows, and that her step is free only be- 
cause she knows her strength, and understands herself per- 
fectly, and is competent to any situation. 

At present, the room was full of that battledore- and- 
shuttlecock conversation, in which everything in heaven 
above or earth beneath is bantered to and fro, flitting and 
flying here and there from one bright lip to another. 

"Now, really and truly, girls, are you going to the early 
services this Lent! Oh, Mr. Selwyn is such a good man I 
and wasn't hia pastoral letter beautiful! We really ought 
to go. But, girls, I can't get up — indeed I can't; do 
you know, it's dreadful — seven o'clock — only think of 
it. You won't go, Eva! " 

"Yes, I shall." 

"I lay you a pair of gloves you won't, now," quoth a 
mouth adorned with long waxed mustachea of a true Im- 
perial type. 

"See if I don't." 

"Oh, mamma says I mustn't try," said another; "I 
have not the strength." 

"And I tell Eva she can't do it," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. 
"Eva is always overdoing; she worked herself to death in 
a mission class last year. The fact is, one can't do these 
things and go into society." 

" But what 'b the use of society, mamma 1 " said Eva. 

"Oh, we!!; we can'.t all turn into monks and nuns, you 



210 MT WITO AND I 

know ; and that 's what these modero High Church doings 
would bring us to. I 'm a good, old-fashioned Episcopa- 
lian; I believe in going to church on Sundays — and that's 
all we used to hear about," 

"Do you know, Mr. Fellows, 1 saw you at St. Al- 
baa's T" said Miss Alice. 

"On your knees, too," said Misb Eva. 

"Do you believe in bowing to the altar I" Eaid a third; 
"I think it 's quite Popish." 

"Girls, what are going to he worn for hats this spring? 
have you been to Madame De Tullegig'st I declare it 'a a 
shame ! hut Lent is just the busiest time about one's 
clothes; one must have everything ready for Easter, you 
know. How do you like the new colors, Mr. Fellows I " 

"Whatl the hell-fire colors?" said Jim. 

"Oh, horrors! You dreadful creature, you ought to be 
ashamed of yourself! " screamed in four or five voices. 

"Am a.shamed — sackcloth and ashes, and all that; eat 
nothing but codfish," said Jim. "But that's what they 
call 'em, anyway- — hell-fire colors." 

"I never did hear such a profane creature. Girls, isn't 
he dreadful ? " 

"I say, Miss Alice," said Jim, "do you go to confession 
up there 1 'Cause, you see, if that thing is getting about, 
I think I '11 turn priest." 

"I think you ought to go to confession," said she. 

" I shall in the good times coming, when we have lady 
priestg." 

"Oh, Mr. Henderson, do you believe in women's 
rights I " 

"Certainly," 

"Well, for my part, I have all the rights I want," said 
Miss Alice. 

"I should think you did," said Jim Fellows; "but it 's 
hard on ub. " 



THE YOUNG LADY PHILOSOPHER 



211 1 



all in6delity," eaid another; 
Do you think women ought to j 



"Well, I think that 
"goes against the Bible, 
speak in public 1 " 

"Eistori and Fanny Kemble, for instance," said I. 

"Oh, well, they are speaking other people's words; 
but their own! " 

" Wby not as well as in private 1 " 

" Oh, because — why, I think it 's dreadful ; don't 
you?" 

"I can't perceive why. I am perfectly chtirmed to hear 
women speak, in public or private, who have anything 
good or agreeable to say." 

" But the publicity is so shocking ! " 

"Is it any more public than waltzing at the great public 
balls)" 

"Oh, well, I think lecturing is dreadful; you'll never 
convince me. I hate all those dreadful, raving, tearing, 
atramming women." 

In which very logical and consecutive way the leading 
topics of the age were elegantly disposed of; and at eleven 
o'clock I found myself out on the pavement with the in- 
exhaustible Jim, who went singing and whistling by my 
side as fresh as a morning blackbird. My head was in a 
pretty thorough whirl; but I was initiated into society, — 
to what purpose shall hereafter appear. 



CHAPTER XVin 

FlilBTATION 

"Look there," said Jim Fellows, throwing down a pair 
of Jouvin's gloves. ''That 's from the divine Alice." 

"A present?" 

"A philopena." 

"Seems to me, Jim, you are pushing your fortunes in 
that quarter." 

"Yes; having a gay time! Adoring at the shrine and 
all that," said Jim. "The lovely Alice is like one of the 
Madonna pictures — to be knelt to, sworn to, vowed to — 
but I can't be the possessor. In the mean while, let's 
have as good a time as possible. We have the very best 
mutual understanding. I am her sworn knight, and wear 
her colors — behold ! " 

And Jim opened his coat, and showed a pretty knot of 
carnation-colored ribbon. 

"But, I thought, Jim, you talked the other night as if 
you could get any of them you wanted." 

" Who says I could n't, man 1 Does not the immortal 
Shakespeare say, ' She is a woman, therefore to be won ' ? 
You don't go to doubting Shakespeare at this time of day, 
Ihopel" 

"Well, then" — 

"Well, then; you see, Hal, we get wiser every day — 
that is, I do — and it begins to be borne in on my mind 
that these rich girls won't pay, if you could get them. 
The game isn't worth the candle." 

"But there is real thought and feeling and cultiva- 



FLIRTATION 215 % 

tion among them," said I, taking up the gauntlet with I 
energy. 

"So there is real juice in hothouse grapes; hut if I 1 
should have a present of a hothouse to-morrow, what ] 
should I have to run it with^ These girls have the educa- 
tion of royal princesses, and all the habits and wants of 
them; and what could a fellow do with them if he got 
them ) We have n't any Parliament to vote dowries to 
keep tlieni up On. I declare, I wish you had heard those 
girls the other night go on about that engagement, and 
what they expected when their time comea. Do you know 
the steps of getting engaged? " 

"I cannot say I have that happinesa," said I. 

" Well, flrat, there 'a the engagement ring, not a sign of 
love, you understand, but a thing to be discussed and com- I 
pared with all the engagement rings, past, present, and to 
come, with Tom's ring, and Dick's ring, and Harry's ring. 
If you could have heard the girls tell over the prices of the 
different engagement rings for the last six months, and 
bring up with Rivington'e, which, it seems, is a solitaire 
worth a thousand ! Henceforth nothing less is to be thought 
of. Then the wedding present to your wife. Kivington 
gives $30,000 worth of diamonds. Wedding fees, wedding 
journey to every expensive place that can be thought of, 
you ought to have a little fortune to begin with. The 
lovely creatures are perfectly rapacious in their demands 
under these heads. I heard full lists of where they were 
going and what they wanted to have. Then comea a 
house, in a fashionable quarter, to the tune of fifty thou- 
sand dollars; then furniture, carriages, horses, opera-boxes. 
The short of the matter is, old Van Arsdel's family are 
liaving a jolly time on the income of a million. There are 
six of them, and every one wants to set up in life o 
same income. So, you see, the sum is how to divide » i 
million so as to make six miUions out of it. The way to 



Hi «Y WIFE AND I 

do it is plain. Each son and daugiiter must marry a mil- 
lion, and get as muct of a man or woman with it as pleases 



"And suppose some of them should love some man, or 
woman, more than gold or silver, and choose love in place 
of money J " said I. 

"Well," said Jim, "that's quite suppoaable; any of 
these girls is capable of it. But, after all, it would he 
rough on a poor girl to take her at her word. What do 
thay know about iH The only domestic qualification the 
most practical of them ever think of attaining is how to 
make sponge-cake. I believe, when they are thinking of 
getting married, they generally make a little sponge-cake 
and mix a. salad dressing, that fits them for the solemn and 
awful position of wife and mother, which you hear so much 
about. Jiow, the queenly Alice is a splendid girl, and 
can talk French and German and Italian; but her know- 
ledge of natural history is limited, I imagine she thinks 
gloves grow in packs on the trees, and artificial flowers are 
raised from seed, and dresses develop by uniform laws of 
nature at the rate of three or four a month. If you could 
get the darling to fly to your arms, and the old gentleman 
shouldn't come round and give her what he could afford, 
how could you console her when she finds out the price of 
gloves and gaiter hoots and all the ordinary comforts] I 'm 
afraid the dear child wiU be ready to murder you for help- 
ing her to her own way. So you see, Jim does n't invest 
in engagement rings this year." 

Thereupon I sung: — 

"Sing away, my good fellow," said Jim. "Maybe I 
am the fox; but I 'm a fox that has cut his eye-teeth. 
I 'm too cute to put my neck in that noose, you see, No, 
■ii; you can mention to Queen Yictoria that if she wants 



FLIETATION 



Sir 



Jim Fellows to marry one of her daughters, why Parlia- J 
meiit has got to come down handsomely with dowry to % 
keep her on. They are worth keeping, these splendid 1 
creations of nature and art; but it takes as much as t 
a first-clftsa steamer. They go exactly in the line of fine | 
pictures and statuary, and all tLat. They may be adorable 
and inspiring, and exalting and refiniug and purifying, the 
very poetry of existence, the altogether lovely ; but, after 
all, it is only the rich that can afford to keep them. A 
wife costs more in our day than a carriage or a conscience, 
and both those are luxuries loo expensive for Jim. " 

"Jim! Jimll Jimltl" I exclaimed, intones of expoa- 
tulation ; but the impracticable Jim cut a tall pirouette, and 
aung: — 



"M7 old masM told m 






y,0\ 



The crescendo here made the papers flutter, and created 
a lively breeze in the apartment. 

" And now, farewell, divinest Alice, Jim must go to 
work. Let 'a see. Oh ! I 've promised a rip-staving skin- 
ner on Tom Brown in that Custom House affair." 

"What is that business 1 What has Brown donel If 
all is true that is alleged he ought to be turned out of de- 
cent society." 

"Oh, pabawl you don't understand; it's nothing hut a 
dust we 're kicking up because it 's a dry time. Brown 'a 
a good fellow enough, I dare say, but you know we want 
to seii our papers, and these folks want hot hash with their 
breakfast every tuorning, and somebody has got to be 
served up. You see the ' Seven Stars ' started this story, 
and sold immensely, and we come in on the wave; the | 
word to our paper is ' pitch in,' and so I 'm pitching in,' 

" But, Jim, ia it the fair thing to do when you don't 
know the truth of the story J " 



Sl< UT WIVE AND I 

"The truth! well, my dear fellow, who knows or cares 
anything about truth ia our days! We want to eell our 
papers." 

"And to sell jour papers you will sell your honor as a 
man and a gentleman." 

"Oh, bother, Hal, with your preaching! " 

"But, Jim, you ought to examine both eidea and know 
the truth." 

"I do examine; generally write on both aides when 
theae rows come on. I'm going to defend Brown in the 
'Forum; ' jousee, they sent round yesterday for an article; 
BO you see, Jim makes his little peculium both ways," 

"Jim, is that the square thing! " 

"Why not) It would puzzle the Devil himself to make 
out what the truth ia in one of our real double and twisted 
New York newspaper rows. I don't pretend to do it, but 
I '11 show up either aide or both sides if I 'm paid for it. 
We young men must live! If the public must have epicery 
we must get it iip for them. We only serve out what they 
Older. I tell you, now, what this great American people 
wants is a semi- occasional tow about something, no matter 
what; a murder, or a revival, or a great preacher, or the 
'Black Crook; ' the Lord or the Devil, anything to make 
matters lively, and break up the confounded dull times 
round in the country." 

" And so you get up little personal legends, myths, about 
this or that man ? " 

"Exactly; that's what public men are good for. They 
are our drums and tamborines; we beat on 'em to amuse 
the people and make a variety ; nobody cores for anything 
more than a day ; they forget it to-morrow, and something 
else turns up." 

"And you think it right," said I, "to uae up character 
just as you do bootblacking to make your boots shine I 
How would you like to be treated so yourself 1 " 



FLIRTATION 217 ■ 

"Shouldn't mind it a bit — bleae your buttons — it 
don't hurt anybody. Nobody thinks the worse of them. 
Why, you could prove conciusiTely that any of our public 
men break the whole Ten Conminndmenta at a smash 
— break 'em for breakfast, dinner, and supper, and it 
wouldn't hurt 'era. People only oh and all and roll up 
their eyes and say ' Terrible ! ' and go out to meet him, and 
it 'b 'My dear fellow, how are you) why haven't you been 
round to our house lately 1 ' By and by they say, ' Look 
here, we 're tired of this about Brown, give us more va- 
riety. ' Then Jones turns up, and off go the whole pack 
after Jones. That keeps matters lively, you see." 

I laughed, and Jim was perfectly satisfied. All that he 
ever wanted in an argument waa to raise a laugh, and he 
was triumphant, and went scratching on with his work 
with untiring industry. He always left me with an un- 
easy feeling, that by laughing and letting hira alone I was 
but half doing my duty, and yet it seemed about as feasible 
to present moral considerations to a bobolink. 

"There," he said, after half an hour of scribbling 
"there 's ao much for old Mam." 

"Who's old 'MamT' 

"Haven't heard? why, your mistress and mine, the old 
Mammon of unrighteousness; she ia mistress of all things 
here below. You can't even carry on religion in this 
world but through her. You must court old Mam, or 
yovit churches, and your missions, and all the rest go under, 
and Jim works hard for her, and she owes him a living." 

"There have been men in our day who prevailed in 
spite of her." 

"Who, for example!" 

"Grftrrison," ' 

"Well, lie's top of thi 
tell you that waa a long 
ready cash and sell what '* 



! heap now, sure enoiigh, but I 
investroent. Jim has to run on 
: asked for now. I stand at my 



counter, ' Walk up, gentlemen, what '11 you take 1 Orders 
taken and executed with promptness and dispatch. Reli- 
gion I yeB, air. Here 'e the account of the work of Divine 
grace in Skoivhegan; fifty awakened and thirty-nine indul- 
ging in hope. Here 'e criticism on Boanergea' orthodoxy, 
showing how he departs from the great vital doclrinea of 
grace, giving up Hell and all the other coRsolationa of our 
holy religion. We'll serve you out orthodoxy red hot. 
Anything in this line) Here 's the latest ahout sweet lit- 
tle Dame aux Cam^ias, and lovely little Kitty Blondine. 

"Oh! Killy is mj' dsrling, my darling, mj darling," etc. 

And here 's the reformatory, red hot, hit or miss, here 's 
for the niggera and the Paddiea and the women and all the 
enslaved claaaes. Jim will go it for any of them, only 
give him his price. ' I think of getting up a show-bill 
with list of prices affixed. Jim will run anybody up or 
run anybody down to order." 

I put my hand over his mouth, "Come, yon bom 
magpie," said I, "you aha'n't make yourself out bo much 
worse than you are," 



[Eva Van Aradel to Isabel ConrerB.] 

Mt dear Belle, — I told you I would write the end 
lay little adventure, and whether the "hermit " comea or 
not. Yes, my dear, sure enough, he did come, and mamma 
and we all like him immensely ; he had really quite a suc- 
cess among us. Even Ida, who never receives calls, was 
gracious, and allowed him to come into her sanctum because 
he is a champion of the modern idea about women. Have 
you seen an article in the "Milky Way" on the Women 
of our Times, taking the modern radical ground ? Well, it 
■was by him ; it suited Ida to a hair, but some little things 
in it vexed me because there was a phrase or two about the 
"fashionable butterflies," and all that; that comea a great 






FLIRTATION 



219 



deal too near the truth to be altogether agreeable. I don't 
caie when Ida says such things, because ehe 'b emothei 
woman, and between ourselvea we know there ia a deal of 
nonsense current among us, and if we have a mind to talk 
about it among ourselves, why, it 'e like abusing oDe's own 
relations in the bosom of the family, one of the sweetest 
domestic privileges, you know; but, when lordly man be- 
gins to come to judgment and call over the roll of our sina, 
I am inclined to tell him to look at home, and to say, 
"Pray, what do you know about us, air! " I stand up for 
my sex, right or wrong; so you see, we had a spicy little 
controversy, and I made the hermit open his eyes (and, 
between us, he has handsome eyes to open). He looked 
innocently astonished at first to be taken up so briskly 
and called to account for his sayings. You see, the way 
these men have of going on and talking without book about 
ufl quite blinds them; they can aet us down conclusively 
in the abstract when they don't see ua or hear us, hut when 
a real live girl meets them and aska an account of their 
sayings they begin to be puzzled. However, I must say 
my lord can talk when he fairly ii 
a true, serious, earnest-hearted i 
fully, and his eyea apeak when li 
of the evening, you see, we were 
ing agreement; he was in our little "Italy," and we had 
the nicest of times going over all the pictures and portfolios 
and the dear old Italian life; it seems as if we had both 
of us seen, and thought of, and liked the same thinga — it 
was really curious ! 

Well, like enough, that 's all there is to it. 
he never will call again. Mamma ii 
every "Wednesday, quite urged it upon him, but he said 
his time was so filled up with work. Tliere, you see, ia 
where men have the advantage of girls ! They have eome- 
Ibing definite to fill up their time, thought, and hearts; wa 



: put up to it. He is 
m, and does talk beanti- 
is silent. The forepart 
□ a state of most charm- 



Ten to one 
1 to be here 



»0 



MY WIFE KSB I 



onca 



;r can, 



nothing, bo we think of them from sheer idleneae, and 
they forget us through press of businees. Ten to one he 
never calls here again. Why should he I I should n't 
think he would. I wouldn't if I were he. He isn't a 
dancing tnan, nor an idler, but one that takes life earnestly, 
and, after all, I dare say he thinks us fashionable girls a sad 
set. But I'm sure he must admire Ida; and she was 
wonderfully gracious for her, and gave him the entree of 
her sanctum, where there never are any but rational say- 
ings and doings. 

Well, we shall see, 

I am provoked with what you tell me about the 
of my engagement to Mr. Sydney, and I tell you no 
again, "No, no." I told you in my last that I t 
engaged, and I now tell you what is more, that I ne-v 
shall, or will be engaged to him ; my mind is made up, 
but how to get out of the net that is closing round me I 
don't see. I think all these things are " perplexing and 
disagreeable." If a girl wauta to do the fair thing it is 
hard to know how. First you refuse outright, and then 
my lord cornea as a friend. Will you only allow him the 
liberty to try and alter your feelings, and all that} You 
shall not be forced; he only wants you to get more ac- 
quainted, and the result is you go on getting webbed and 
meshed in day after day more and more. You can't refuse 
flowers and attentions offered by a friend; if you take 
them you may be quite sure they will be made to mean 
more, Mamma and Aunt Maria have a provoking way of 
talking about it constantly as a settled thing, and one can't 
protest from morning till night, apropos to every word. 
At first they urged me to receive his attentions; now they 
are saying that I have accepted so many I can't honorably 
withdraw. And so he does n't really give me an opportu- 
nity to bring the matter to a crisis; he has a silent taking- 
for-gi'anted air that is provoking. But the law that binda 



FUHTATTON 221 ' 

our sex ia the law of all glioata and spirits, — we can't speak 
till we are spoken to; meanwhile lepoits spread, and peo- 
ple say hateful things as if you were trying and failing, 
How angiy that makes me I One is almost tempted some- 
times to accept just to ahow that one can; hut, seriously, 
dear Belle, this is wicked trifling. Marriage is an awful, 
a tremendous thing, and we of the Church are without 
excuse if we go into it lightly or unadvisedly, and I never 
shall marry till I see the man that is my fate. I have 
what mamma calls domestic ideas, and I 'm going to have 
them, and when I marry it shall be for the man alone, not 
a pieced-up affair of carriages, horses, diamonds, opera- 
boxes, cashmeres with a man, but a man for whom all the 
world were well lost; then I shall not he afraid of the 
Church service which now stands between me and Mr. 
Sydney. I cannot, I dare not, lie to God and swear falsely ■ 
at the altar to gain the whole world. 

I wish you could hear our new rector. He is making a 
sensation among us. If the life he is calling on us all to 
live is the real and true one, we shall soon have to choose 
between what is called society and the Church; for if being 
a Churchwoman means all he says, one cannot he in it 
without really making religion the life's business — which, 
yon know, we none of us do or have. Dear man, when 
I see him tugging and straining to get our old, sleepy, rich 
families into heavenly ways, I think of Pegasus yoked to 
B stone cart. He is all life and energy and entfausiasm, 
he breathes fire, and his wings are spread heavenward, but 
there 'a the old dead, lumbering cart at his heels! Poor 
man ! — and poor cart too — for I am in it with the rest of 
the lumher! 

We are in all the usual spring agonies now about clothes. 
The house reverberates with the discussion of hats and 
bonnets, and feathers and flowers, and overskirts and un- 
derskirts, and all the paraphernalia — and what on absurd 



222 MT wm AND I 

combioation it makea with the daily servicee in Lent. 
Absurd I No — dreadful! for at church we ore reading of 
our Saviour's poverty and fasting and agonies — what a 
contrast between his life and ours! Was it to make ua 
such as we are that be thus lived and died 1 

Cousin Sophia is happy in her duties in the sisterhood. 
Her church life and daily life are all of a piece — one part 
ia not a mockery of the other. There 's Ida, too — out of 
the Church, making no profession of churchly religion, but 
living wholly out of this bustling, worldly sphere, devoted 
to a noble life purpose — fitting herself to make new and 
better paths for women, Ida has none of these dress trou- 
bles; she has cut loose from all. Her simple black dress 
costs incredibly less than our outfit — it is all arranged 
with a purpose — yet she always has the air of a lady, and 
she has besides a real repose, which we never have. This 
matter of dress has a thousand jars and worries and vexa- 
tions to a fastidious nature ; one wishes one were out of it. 

I have heard that nuns often soy they are more blessed 
than ever they were in the world, and I can conceive why, 
— it is a perfect and blissful rest from all that troubles 
ordinary women. In the first place, the marri^e question. 
They know that they are not to he married, and it ia a 
comfort to have a definite settlement of that matter. 
Then all agitations and fluctuations about that are over. 
In the nest place, the dress question. They have a dress 
provided, put it on, and wear it without thought or in- 
quiry ; there is no room for thought, or use for inquiry. 
In the third place, the question of sphere and work is set- 
tled for them; they know their duties exactly; and if they 
don't, there is a director to tell them; they have only to 
obey. This must be rest — blissful rest. 

I think of it sometimes, and wonder why it is that this 
dress question must smother us women and wear us out, 
and take our whole life and breath as it does! In our 



J 



FLIRTAnON 



223 



family it is perfectly fearful. If one had only one's aelf 
to please it ia hard enough — what with one's owp fas- 
tidious taste, with dressmakers who never keep their word, 
and push you off at the last moment with abominable 
things; but when one has pleased one's self, then comes 
mamma, and then all the girls, every one with an opinion; 
and then, when this gauntlet ia run, comes Aunt Maria, 
more solemn and dictatorial than the whole — so that by 
the time anything gets really settled one is so fatigued 
that life doesn't seem really worth having. 

I told Mr, Henderson, in our little discussion last night, 
that I envied men because they had a chance to live a real, 
grand, heroic life, whiSe we were smothered under trifles 
and commonplaces, and he said, in reply, that the men had 
no more chances in this way than we; that theirs was a 
life of drudgeries and detail; and that the only way for 
man or woman was to animate ordinary duties hy a heroic 
spirit. He said that woman's specialty was to idealise life 
by shedding a noble spirit upon its ordinary trifles. I 
don't think he is altogether right. I still think the oppor- 
tunities for a noble life are ten to one in the hands of 
men ; hut still there ia a great deal in what he says. He 
spoke beautifully of the noble spirit shown hy some women 
in domestic life. I thought perhaps it was his mother he 
was thinking of. He must have known some noble woman, 
for his eye kindled when he spoke about it. 

How I have run on — and what a medley this letter ia. 
I dare not look it over, for I should be sure to toss it into 
the fire. Write to me soon, dearest Bella, and tell me 
what you think of matters so far. 

Your ever loving Eva. 



CHAPTER XIX 



1 BKCOMK A FAMILT PBIESD 

Z HAVE often had occasion to admire the philoaophieal 
justice of popular phraBea, The ordinary cant phraseology 
of life generally reprepenta a homeiy truth hecauae it has 
grown upon reality like a lichen upon a rock. "Falling in 
love" is a phrase of this kind; it represents just that phe- 
nomenon which is all the time happening among the sons 
and daughters of Adam in most unforeseen times and sea- 
Bons, and often when the subject least intends it, and even 
intends something quite the contrary. 

The popular phrase "falling in love " denotes something 
that comes unexpectedly. One may walk into love pre- 
paredly, advisedly, with the eyes of one's understanding 
open ; but one falls in love as one falls downstairs in a 
dark entry, aimply because the foot is set where there is 
nothing for it to stand on, which I take to be a simile of 
most philosophical good resolutions. 

I flattered myself at this period of my existence that I 
was a thorough- paced philosopher; a man that had out- 
lived the snares and illusions of youth, and held himself 
and all his passions and affections under most perfect con- 
trol. The time had not yet come marked out in my su- 
preme wisdom for me to meditate matrimonial ideas; in 
the mean while, I resolved to make the most of that plea- 
sant and convenient arbor on the Hill Difficulty which is 
commonly called Friendship. 

Concerning this arbor I have certain observations to 
make. It is most commocliouBly situated, and commanda 



I BEOOHl A. FAMILY FBTBUD 325 

charming prospecte. We are informed of eome, that on 
a clear day one can see from it quite plain]; aa far as to 
the Delectable Mountains. From my own experience I 
have no doubt of thia fact. For a young man of tive-and- 
twenty or thereabouts, not at present in circumstances to 
marry, what is more charming than to hecome the intimate 
friend in a circle of vivacious and interesting young ladies, 
in easy circumstances, who live in a palace surrounded by 
all the elegances, refinements, and comforts of life ? 

More blissful still, if he be welcomed to these bowers 
of beauty by a charming and courteous mamma who hopes 
he will make himself at home, and assures him that they 
will treat him quite as one of the family, Thia means, of 
course, that perfect confidence ia reposed in his discretion. 
He is labeled — "Safe." He is to gaze on all these 
charms with a disinterested spirit, without a thought of 
personal appropriation, 'Of course, he is not to stand in 
the way of eligible establishments that may offer, but 
meanwhile he can make himself generally agreeable and 
useful. He may advise the fair charmers as to their read- 
ing and superintend the cultivation of their minds; he may 
he on hand whenever an escort is needed to a party; he 
may brighten up dull evenings by reading aloud, and, in 
short, may bo that useful individual that is looked on 
"quite as a brother, you know." 

Young men who glide into this position in families 
generally, I believe, enjoy it quite as much as the moth- 
millers who seem to derive such pleasure from the light 
and heat of the evening lamp, and with somewhat similar 
results. But though thousands of these unsophisticated 
insects singe their wings every evening, the thousand- 
and-first one comes to the charge with a light heart in 
his bosom, and quite aa satisfied of his good fortune as I 
was when Mrs. Van Arsdel with the sweetest and moat 
motherly tones said to me, "I know, Mr. Henderson, the 



SS6 HT WIFE AKD I 

lonely life you young men must lead when you fiiat coiue 
to citiee; you have been accustomed to the home circle, to 
mother and sistera, and it must be very dreary. Pray, 
make this a sort of home; drop in at any time; our parlora 
are always open, and some of us about; or if not, why, 
there are the pictures and the books, you know, and there 
is the library where you can write. " 

Surely it was impossible for a young man to turn away 
from all tbie allurement. It was the old classic atory:- 

"The niolhsr ' 
Amung the 1 

Mrs, Van Aradel, as I said, was one of three fair sisteia 
who had attained a great celebrity, in the small provincial 
town where they were bom, for their personal charms. 
They were known far and near as the beautiful Miaa 
Askotta. Their father was a man rather in the lower 
walks of life, and the fortunes of the family were made 
solely by the personal attractions of the daughters. 

The oldest of these, Maria Aakott, married into one of 
the ao-called first New York families. The match was 
deemed in the day of it a very brilliant one. Tom Wouver- 
mans was rich, ehowy, and dissipated; and in a very few 
years ran through both his property and constitution, and 
left his wife the task of maintaining a genteel standing 
on very limited means. 

The second sister, "EUen, married Mr. Van Arsdel when 
he was in quite modest circumstances, and had been carried. 
up steadily by his business ability to the higher circles of 
New York life, The third had married a rich Southern 
planter whose fortunes have nothing to do with my story. 

The Van Arsdel household, like most American families, 
waa fiubstantially under feminine rule. Mr. Van Arsdel 
was a quiet, silent man, whose whole soul was absorbed i 
business, and who left to his wife the whole charge of idl 
that concerned the household and his children. Mis. Van 



I BECOME A. FAMILY FEIEND 



227 



Arsdel, however, was under the control of her elder sister. 
There are born dictators as well as born poets. Certain 
people come into the world with the instinct and talent for 
ruling and teaching, and certain others with the desire and 
instinct of being taught and ruled over. There are people 
bom with such a superfluous talent for management and 
dictation that they always, instinctively and as a matter 
of course, arrange not only their own aft'airs, but those of 
their friends and relations, in the most eflicient and com- 
plete manner possible. Such is the tendency of things to 
adaptation and harmony, that where such persons exist we 
are sure to find them surrounded by those who take delight 
in being guided, who like to learn and to look up. Such 
a domestic ruler was Mrs. Maria Wouvermans, commonly 
known in the Van Arsdel circle as "Aunt Maria," a name 
of might and authority anxiously interrogated and quoted 
in all passages of family history. 

Now the fact is quite striking that the persons who hold 
this position in domestic policy are often not particularly 
strong or wise. The governing mind of many a circle is 
not by any means the mind best fitted either mentally or 
morally to govern. It is neither the best nor the cleverest 
individual of a given number who influences their opinions 
and conduct, but the person the most perseveringly self- 
asserting. It is amusing in looking at the world to see 
how much people are taken at their own valuation. The 
persons who always have an opinion on every possible sub- 
ject ready made, and put up and labeled for immediate use, 
concerning which they have no shadow of a doubt or hesi- 
tation, are from that very quality bom rulers. This posi- 
tiveness, and preparedness, and readiness may spring from 
a universal shallowness of nature, but it is none the less 
efBcient. While people of deeper perceptions and more 
insight are wavering in delicate distresses, balancing testi' 
mony and praying for light, this commonplace obtuseneaa 



228 MY WIFE AND I 

comes in and leads all captive, by mere force of knowing 
exactly what it wanta, and being iDCapable of seeing be- 
yond the issues of the moment. 

Mrs, Maria Wouverraans waa all this. She always be- 
lieved in herself, from the cradle. The watchworda of hei 
conversation were always of a positive nature. " To be sure, " 
"certainly," "of course," "I see," and "I told you so." 

Correspondingly to this, Mrs. Van Atsdel, her next eia- 
ter, was one who said habitually, "What would yoii do, 
and how would you do it7 " and bo the domestic duet was 
complete, Mrs. Wouvermans did not succeed in governing 
or reclaiming her husband, but she was none the less self- 
confident foe that; and having seen him comfortably into 
his grave, she had nothing to do hut get together the small 
remains of the estate and devote herself to "dear Ellen and 
her children," Mrs. Wouvermans managed her own house, 
where everything was arranged with the 6trict«Bt attention 
and economy, and to the making a genteel appearance on 
a small sum, and yet found abundance of time to direct 
sister Ellen and her children. 

She was a good-naturod, pleasant- mannered woman, fond 
of her nieces and nephews ; and her perfect faith in her- 
self, the decision of all her announcements, and the habit- 
ual attitude of consultation in which the mother of the 
family stood towards her, led the Van Arsdel children aa 
they grew up to consider "Aunt Maria," like the Bible or 
civil government, as one of the great ready-made facts of 
society, to be accepted without dispute or inquiry. 

Mrs. WouvermanH had her own idea of the summum 
bonum, that great obscure point about which philosophera 
have groped in vain. Had Plato or Anasagoras or any of 
those ancient worthies appealed to her, she would have 
amiled on them henignantly, and said, " Why, yes, of course, 
don't you seeT the thing is very simple. You must keep 
(he best society and make a good appearance. " 



I BECOME A FAMILY PBIEND 229 

Mm, Van Aradel had been steadily guided by her in the 
paths of faahionahle progression. Ha,Ting married into a 
rich old family, Aunt Maria was believed to have myste- 
rious and incommunicable secrets of gentility at her com' 
mand. She was always supposed to have an early insight 
into the secret counsels of that sublime, awful, mysteri- 
ous (?(ey, who give the law in fashionable life. "They 
don't wear bonnets that way, now!" "My love, they 
wear gloves sewed with colored silks, now!" or, "they 
have done with hoops and flowing aleevea," or, "they are 
beginning to wear hoops again ! They are going to wear 
long trains," or, "they have done with silver powder 
now! " All which announcements were made with a calm 
solemnity of manner calculated to impress the youthful 
mind with a sense of their profound importance. 

Mr. Van Aradel followed Aunt Maria's lead with that 
unquestioning meekness which is so edifying a trait in our 
American gentlemen. In fact, he considered the household 
and all its works and ways as an insoluble mystery which 
he was well pleased to leave to hia wife; and if his wife 
chose to be guided by "Maria" he had no objection. So 
long as his business talent continued yearly to enlarge his 
means of satisfying the desires and aspirations of his fam- 
ily, so long he was content quietly and silently to ascend 
in the scale of luxurious living, to have his house moved 
from quarter to quarter until he reached a Fifth Avenue 
palace, to fill it with pictures and statuary, of which he 
knew little and cared less. 

Under Aunt Maria's directions Mrs. Van Arsdel aspired 
to be a leader in fashionable society. No house was to be 
attractive as hers, no parties so brilliant, no daughters 
a greater demand. Nature had generously seconded her 
desires. Her daughters were a!! gifted with fine personal 
points as well as a more than common share of that spicy 
genial originality of mind which is, as a general thing, 
rather a characteristic of young American girls. 



MY WIFE AND I 

Mr. Van Arsdel had had his say about the education of 
his sons and daughters. Xo expense had been spared. 
They had heen sent to the very best schools that money 
could procure, and had improved tlieir aiivantagea. The 
consequences of education had been as usual to increase the 
difficulties of controlling the subject. 

The horror and dismay of Mrs. Van Arsdel and of Aunt 
Maria cannot be imagined when they discovered almost 
immediately on the introduction of Ida Van Arsdel into 
society that they had on their hands an actual specimen of 
the strong-minded young woman of the period ; a person 
who looked beyond shows, who did her own thinking, and 
■who despised or approved with full vigor without consult- 
ing accepted standards, and was resolutely resolved not to 
walk in the ways her pastors or masters had hitherto con- 
sidered the only appointed ones for young ladies of good 
condition. 

To work embroidery, go to parties, entertain idlers, and 
wait to be chosen in marriage seemed to a girl who had 
spent six years in earnest study a most lame and impotent 
conclusion to all that effort; and when Ida Van Arsdel 
declared her resolution to devote herself to professional 
studies. Aunt Maria's indignation and disgust are not to 
he described. 

"So shocking and indelicate! For my part, I can't im- 
agine how anybody can want to think on such subjects! 
I 'm sure it gives me a turn just to look into a work on 
physiology, and all those dreadful pictures of what ia inside 
of na! I think the less we know about such subjects the 
better; women were made to be wives and mothers, and 
not to trouhle their heads about such matters; and to think 
of Ida, of all things, whose father is rich enough to keep 
her like a princess whether she ever does a thing or notl 
Why should she go into it 7 Why, Ida is not bad looking. 
She is quite pretty, in fact; there are a dozen girls with 



1 BECOUB A FAMILY FRIEND 



SStE 



not hnlf her advantages that have made good matches, bat 
it 'a no use talking to her. That giil is obstinate as the e 
lasting hills, and her father backs her up in it. Well, wa 
must let her go, and take care of the others. Eva is my god- 
child, and we nrnst at any rate secure something for her," 
" Something " meant of course a splendid eBtablishment. 

The time of my introduction into the family circle was »■ 
critical one. 

In the race for fashionable leadership Mrs. Van Arsdel 
had one rival whose aucceasea were aa stimulating and aa 
vexatious to her aa the good fortune of Mordecai the Jew 
was to Haman in Old Testament times. All bar good for- 
tune and succcBsea were spoiled by the good fortune and 
auccesaea of another woman, who was sure to be a little 
ahead of her in everything that abe attempted; and this 
wsfl the more trying aa thia individual began life with her, 
and was a sort of family connection. 

In days of her youth there was one Polly Sandera, a 
remote couain of the Askotta, who waa reputed a beauty by 
some. PoUy waa what ia called in Kew England "araart" 
She was one who never lost an opportunity, and, aa the 
vulgar saying is, could make every edge cut. Her charms 
were far less than those of the Misses Askott, and she was 
in far more straitened circumstances; but she went at the 
problem of life in a sort of tooth- and- nail fashion, which 
often ia extremely aucceaaful. She worked first in a fac- 
tory, till she made a little money, with which ahe put her- 
self to school — acquired showy accomplishments, and went 
up like a balloon; married a. man with much the same 
talent for getting along in the world aa herself; went to 
Paris, and returned a traveled, accompliahed woman ; and 
the pair set up for first society people in New York, and, to 
the infinite aatoniahment of Mrs, Wouvermans, 
in a position to patronize her, and to run a race, neck and 
neck, with the Van Aradel& 



ad ^^fl 



SS2 HT WIFE AKD 1 

What woman's Ghristian principles are adequate to snp- 
port her tinder Buch trials I Nothing ever impresaed Aunt 
Maria with such a eense of the evils of worldlinesa ae Polly 
Elmore's career. She waB fond of speaking of her famil- 
iarly as "Polly," and recalling the time when she was 
only a factory-girl. According to Aunt Maria, such grasp- 
ing, unscrupulous devotion to things seen and temporal 
had never been known in anybody as in the case of Polly. 
Aunt Maria, of course, did not consider herself as worldly, 
Nobody ever does. You do not, 1 presume, my dear 
madam. When your minister preaches about worldly peo- 
ple, your mind immediately reverts to the Joneses and the 
Simpsons round the comer, and you rather wonder how 
they take it. In the same manner Aunt Maria's eyes were 
always being rolled up, and she was always in a shocked 
state at something these dreadful, worldly, dresey Elmorea 
were doing. But still they went on from conquering to 
conquer. Mrs. Elmore was a dashing leader of fashion — 
spoke French like a book — was credibly reported to have 
skated with the Emperor at the Boia de Boulogne — and, 
in short, there was no saying what feathers she did n't wear 
in her cap. 

The Van Arsdela no sooner did a thing than the Elmorea 
did more. The Van Arsdela had a house in Fifth Avenue; 
the Elmores set up a French chateau on the Park. The 
Van Aradels piqued theniselves on recherche society. The 
Elmores made it a point to court all the literati and dis- 
tinguished people. Heneo, rising young men were of great 
value as ornaments to the salons of the respective houses — 
if they had brought with them a name in the literary 
world so much the more was their value — it was impor- 
tant to attach them to fiur salon, lest they should go to 
awell the triumphs of the enemy. 

The crowning, culminating triumph of the Elmores was 
the engagement, just declared, of Maria, the eldest daugh- 



i 



[ BBOOME A FAMILY FEIEKD 



SS8 



ter, to young Kiviogton, of Eiviugton Manor, concerning 
which Aunfc Maria and Mrs. Van Aisdel were greatly 
moved. The engagement was declared, and brilliant wed- 
ding preparations on foot that should eclipse all former 
Kow York grandeurs; and what luminary was there in 
the Van Arsdel horizon to draw attention to that quarter? 

"Positively, Ellen," said Aunt Maria, "the engagement 
between Eva and Wat Sydney muat come out. It pro- 
vokes me to see the absurd and indelicate airs the Ebnorea 
give themselves about this Eivington match. It 's really 
in shocking taste. I 'm sure / don't envy them Sam Riv- 
ington. There are shocking stories told about him. They 
Bay he ia a perfect rouS — has been taken home by the 
police night after night. How Polly, with all her worldli- 
ness, can make such an utter sacrifice of her daughter is 
what / can't see. Now Sydney, everybody knows, is a 
atrictly correct man. Ellen, this thing ought to come out." 

"But, dear me, Maria, Eva is such a strange child. 
She won't admit that there is any engagement." 

"She must admit it, Ellen — of course she must. It's 
Ida that puts her up to all her strange ideas, and will end 
by making her as odd as she is herself. There 's that new 
young man, that Henderson — why don't we turn him to 
account? Ida has taken a fancy to him, I hear, and it's 
exactly the thing. Only get Ida'a thoughts running that 
way and she '11 let Eva alone, and stop putting notions into 
her head. Henderson is a gentleman, and would be a very 
proper match for Ida, He is literary, and she ia literary. 
He ia for all the modem ideas, and so is she. I 'm sure, 
I go with all my heart for encouraging him. It 'a exactly 
the thing," 

And Aunt Maria 

" Shi)olt hpr ambrosial cnrU and gave tbenod," 

with B magnificence equal to Jupiter in the old Homeria 
days. 




I DIBCOTBB TBS SSAUTIE8 OF FBIKHDBHIP 



Mdch has been written lat«ly concerning the doctrine of 
friendship hctweea men and \romen. It is thonght and 
eaid by some that there lies an unexplored territory in oui 
American life, and we have the example of Madame K^ca- 
mier set before us to show how perfectly intimate and de- 
voted a whole circle of manly friends may be with one fait 
woman, without detriment or disadvantage to their domes- 
tic ties or hers. The adorable Juliet is the intimate friend 
at once of Matthew Montmorenci, the aaint, of Chateau- 
briand, the poet, and of an indefinite number of artiste and 
men of letters, all of whom address her in language of ado- 
ration and devotion, and receive from her affectionate mea- 
aages in return. Chateaubriand spends every afternoon 
with Juliet, and every evening with his invalid wife, like 
a devoted and dutiful husband, and this state of things goes 
on from year to year without trouble and without scandal. 

It was with some such sublimated precedent in my head 
that I allowed myself to yield to the charming temptation 
opened to me by my acquaintance with Eva Van AradeL 
Supposing by Jim's account that she was already engaged, 
looking on myself as yet far off from the place where I 
could thiuk of marriage, what was there to hinder my en- 
joying her society 1 Of course, there was no possible 
danger to myself, and it would be absolute coxcombry to 
think that there would be any to her. She, who had been 
a queen of fashion, and who had the world under her feet, 
if she deigned to think kindly of a poor Uttirateur, it 



I DISOOVEa THE BEAUTIES OF FfilENDSHIP 285 

could surely lead to nothing dangerous. I might have been 
wamei!, if I were wise, by the fact that the night after my 
first presentation I lay awake and thought over all she had 
said, and counted the days that should intervene before 
next Wednesday evening. I would not for the world have 
had Jim Fellows divine what was going on within me ; in 
fact, I took as much painn to cajole and pacify and take 
myself in as if I had been a third party. 

I woke about six o'clock in the dim gray of the next 
morning, from a dream in which Eva and I were talking 
together, when she seemed so vivid that I started up almost 
feeling that I saw her face in the air. Suddenly I heard 
the bell of a neighboring church strike the hour, and 
thought of what she had said the evening before about 
attending morning services. 

Wliat was to hinder my going to the church and seeing 
her again 1 There was a brisk morning walk, that was a 
good thing, and certainly morning devotion was something 
80 altogether right and reasonable that I wondered I never 
bad thought of it before. I dressed myseU and turned out 
into the streets to seek the little church of the Holy Sepnl- 
ohre where the new rector of whom Eva had spoken held 
early Lenten aervicea. 

There was something quaint and rather exciting to my 
imagination to be one of a small band who sought the 
church at this early hour. The sunlight of the rising day 
streamed through the painted window and touched with 
a sort of glory the white dresa of the priest; the organ 
played softly in subdued melody, and the words of the 
morning service had a sort of touching lovely sound. 
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, 
there am I in the midst of them " seemed to come to my 
thoughts with new force as I looked on the small number, 
two or three in a pew, who were scattered up and down 
through the church. She was there in a seat not far from 



286 MY WffK AND I 

me, shrouded in a eiinple black dress and veil, and seemed 
wholly and entirely absorbed by her Prayer- Book and devo- 

As the little company dispersed at the close of the ser- 
vices, I stood in the door and joined her as she passed out. 

" Gkiod -morning, Miss Van Aradel," I said. 

She started and looked surprised, and a bright color 
flushed in her cheeks. 

"Mr. Henderson! you quite astonish me," 

"Why sol" 

"There are so very few who get out at this hour; and 
you, I helieve, are not of the Church." 

"I don't know what you mean by the Church, exactly," 
said I. 

"Oh," said she, looking at me with a conscious smile, 
"I know what everybody means that says the Church — 
it generally means owr Church — the one that is the Church 
for us; but you, I think, belong to the Bethany," she 
added. 

"I do," aaid I, "but I have large sympathies for all 
others, particularly for yours, which seems to me in some 
points more worthily to represent what a church should 
he than any other. " 

She looked pleased, and said with warmth, "Mr, Hen- 
derson, you must not judge our Church by such very 
imperfect specimens as you see among us. We are very 
unworthy children of a noble mother; our Church has 
everything in it to call us to the highest and "best life, 
only we fall far below her teaching." 

"I think I can see," I said, "that if the scheme of liv- 
ii^ set forth by the Episcopal Church were carried out 
with warmth and devotion, it would make an ideal sort of 
society. " 

"It would be a really consecrated life," she said, with 
warmth. "If all would agree to unite in daily morning 



J 



I DISCOVER THE BEAUTIES OF FRIENDSHIP 237 

aad evening prayers for instance," she said, "how beauti- 
ful it would be. I never enjoy reading my Bible alone in 
my toom as I do to have it re&d to me here in church ; 
Bomehow to me there is a sacred charm about it when I 
hear it read there, and then to have friends, neighbors, and 
families meet and pray together as one, every day, would 
be beautiful, I often think I should like to live close by 
one of those beautiful English cathedrals where they have 
choral services every day, and I would go morning and 
evening, but here, in this dreadful, flashy, busy, bustling 
Jfew York, there is no Bucb thing, I suppose, as getting 
any number of people to agree to daily worship." 

"In that respect," said I, "we modern Christians seem 
to be less devout than the ancient heathen or the Moham- 
medans; you recollect Hajji Baba sums up the difference 
between the Englishman and the Persian by saying, ' Wa 
Persians pray seven times a day, and they, never.' " 

"I like to come to church," she said; "it seems a shelter 
and a refuge. Nowadays there are so many things said 
that one doesn't know what to think of; so many things 
disputed that one has always supposed to be true ; such a 
perfectly fatiguing rush of ideas and assertions and new 
ways that for my part I am glad to fall back upon some- 
thing old and established, that I feel sure is n't going to 
melt away into mist before to-morrow." 

"I can well appreciate that feeling," I said, "for I have 
it myself." 

"Do youl Oh, Mr. Henderson, you doti't know how 
it perplexes one. There 's sister Ida, now I she has a cir- 
cle of friends — the very nicest sort of people they seem to 
be I — but, dear me! when I am with them a little while, 
I get perfectly bewildered. No two of them seem to be- 
lievB alike on any subject ; and if you quote the Bible to 
them, they just open their eyes and look amazed at you, 
H if that was something quite behind the age; and aa 



there is no standard with them, of course there is nothing 
eettted. You feel as if life was built on water, and every- 
tbing was rocking and tilting till you are quite dizzy. 
Now, I know I am a poor Hort of a specimen of a Chris- 
tian; but /couldn't live so! I fly back from this sort of 
thing, like a frightened bird, and take refuge in the Church 

— there is something fixed, positive, and definite, that has 
stood the test of time; it is noble and dignified, and I 
abide by that." 

"There is all that about it," said I; "and so very much 
that is attractive and charming in the forms of your Church, 
that I think if you would only open your arms wide, and 
be liberal as the spirit of this age, you would indeed be the 
Church of the world." 

" You think we are not liberalt " she said. 

"When you call yourselves the Church, and make no 
account of all that true, pure, good souls — true followers 
of the same Saviour — are doing, it seems to me you are 
not." 

"Ah, well, Mr. Henderson, perhaps we are wrong there 

— I cannot say. T know there are many churches and 
many dear, good souls in all; it is only to -me that mine is 
the Church; if that is an illusion, it is a happy one." 

"Now," said I, "what a dreary picture should we have 
of New York Christianity if we judged it by the few 
morning worshipers at Lenten services I " 

" Yes, indeed," she said. " I am often sorry for our rector 

— he is so earnest, and so few care to come; and yet he 
told us in his sermon, last Sunday, that these Lenten ser- 
vices were an act of union with our Saviour's self-denials 
and sufferings." 

"Well, Miss Van Arsdel," said I, "I doubt not there 
are hundreds of thousands in this city who do really, in 
spirit, unite with the Saviour in aeli-denials and sufferings, 
daily, who do not express it in this form. If all who 



I DI800VEB THE BEADTIE3 OF FBTENDSHIP 28d ^ 

really love the Saviour, and are living in hia spirit, should I 
make a point of early morning eervice in Lent, I verily A 
believe the churches would be crowded to overflowing." 

" You do really think so ! " 

" I do. In spite of all that appears, I think ours 
really, at heart, a religious age — it is only that we do not 
agree in the same external forms of espreaaion, " 

"But how beautiful! oh, how beautiful it would be if 
we could ! " she said. " Oh, it would be lovely if all the 
good and true could see each other, and stand side by sidel 
I long for visible unity — and do you think, Mr. Hender- 
son, we could unite in more beautiful forma than ours t " 

"No; I do not," said I; "for me, for you, for many 
like us, these are the true forms, and the best; but we 
must remember that others have just as sacred associations, i 
and are as dearly attached to other modes of worship i 
we to these." 

"Then you really do prefer them yourself t" 

"Well, Miss Van Aisdel, I unite with the Church of my 
father and mother, because I was brought up in it; yet if 
I were to choose another, it would be yours." 

She looked pleased, and I added, "It seems to me one 
of the most beautiful things about it is a daily service." 

"Yes," she said, "and it is pleasant to have churches 
where you feel that worship is daily offered whether peo- 
ple attend or not. There was something sacred and beau- 
tiful about the church of St. Peter's in Rome — to think 
that at every hour of day or night worship was going on in 
it, I used to like to think of it when I awoke nights — 
that they were praying and adoring there — in this cold, 
dreary world; it seems as if it was like a Father's house, 
always light, and warm, and open." 

"There is a beauty and iiee in all these forms and im-" ' 
ages," I said; "and I think if we are wise, we may take 1 
comfort in them all, without being enslaved by any." 



Here OUT interview closed, aa with a graceful Balutation 
she left me at the door of her hoiine. 

The amile ehe gave me was so bright and heart-warm, 
that it lightened all mj work through the day; a aubtle 
sense of a new and charming companionship began to shed 
itself through all my labors, and, unconsciously and un- 
watched, commenced that process of double thought which 
made everything I read or wrote suggest something I 
wanted to say to her. The reader will not, therefore, 
wonder that I proved my sense of the beauty of a daily 
morning service by going with great regularity after this, 
and as regularly walking home with my enchanting com- 
panion, 

I was innocently surprised to find how interesting the 
morning scenery in prosaic old !New York had become. It 
was April, and the buds in the Park were swelling, and 
the green grass springing in the cracks of the pavement, 
and little sparrows twittered and nestled in the ivy that 
embowered the church — and all these things had a strange, 
new charm for me. I told myself, every day, that I waa 
not in love with Eva Van Arsdel, or going to he ; I took 
myself to witness that all our conversation waa on the most 
correct and dispassionate subjects, and not in the slightest 
degree inclining to any vanity of that nature. Since then, 
I have learned that Eva waa the kind of woman with 
-whom it made no difference what the subject-matter of 
conversation was. It might be religion, or politics, or 
conic sections, hut the animus of it was sure to be the 
same thing. It was her vital magnetism that gave the 
interest. It was, in fact, hardly any matter what we 
talked about, or whether we talked at all, it was the charm 
of being together that made these morning interviews so 
delightful; though I believe we discussed nearly every- 
thing under the sun with the most astonishing unanimity 
of sentiment. 



I DISCOVEK THE BEAUTIES OT FEIEBDSHIP 241 

I was very careful to keep the knowledge of my increas- 
ing intimacy from Jim Fellowa. Early rising was not hia 
forte, and I, very improperly, congratulated myself on the 
fewness of the worshipera at early service. By and by, I 
grew so conscious that I got a way of stealing out at an 
opposite door, appearing to walk off another way, and join- 
ing Eva at the nest comer — lest haply my invariable con- 
stancy should attract attention. She noticed all theso 
things with a dioll, amused, little half- conscious look. 
True daughter of Eve as she was, she had probably seen 
many a shy lish before, swimming around her golden net 
as artlessly as I was doing. 

I soon became her obedient slave and servant, interpret- 
ing all her motions and intimations with humble assiduity. 
Of course, I presented myself duly with Jim in the Wednes- 
day evening receptions, where, as the rooms were filled 
with other company, we already began to practice an invol- 
untary hypocrisy, keeping up our friendly intimacy hy that 
kind of intuitive and undemonstrative communication natu- 
ral to those who know each other by sympathy, and learn 
to understand each other without words. 

I was a great deal in Ida's studio, probably much to the 
aatiafaction of Aunt Maria and Mrs. Van Arsdel — while 
Sva glanced and twinkled in and out like a firefly in a 
meadow, taking my heart with her as she came and went, 
yet awing roe with a dutiful reticence, lest " people should 
talk." 

Ida was one of those calm, quiet, essentially self-poiaed 
women, with whom it would be quite possible for a man to 
have a very intimate friendship without its toning off into 
anything warm, either on her part or on his. Everything 
with her was so positive and definite, that there was no 
possibility of going over the limita. I think that she 
really had a very warm esteem for me; but she looked at 
me and judged me solely in relation to Eva, and with a 



242 MT WIFE AND I 

quiet persistency favored the intimacy that she saw grow- 
ing between us. Her plans of life were laid far ahead; 
she was wedded to a purpose which she would not have 
renounced for any man on earth; but Eva was the very 
apple of her eye, and I think she had her own plans as 
to the settling of her life's destiny; in short, Ida was 
from the start the best friend I could have. 



CHAPTER XXI 



1 AM INTRODUCED TO THE IlLOMINATI 



A YOUNG man wbo commences life aa a reformer, and a 
leader in the party of progress, while saying the heat and 
most leasonahle things in the world, and advocating what 
appeal to him the most needed reforms, often finds himself, 
in consequence, in the condition of one who has pulled 
the string of a very large shower-hath. He wanl«d cold 
water, and he gets a deal more than he bargained for; in 
fact, often catches his breath, and wonders when this sort 
of thing is going to atop. My articles on the Modern 
Woman, in the "Milky Way," had brought me into no- 
tice in certain enthusiastic circles, and I soon found myaelf 
deluged with letters, appeals, pamphlets, newspapers, all 
calling for the most urgent and immediate attention, and 
all chaining me on my allegiance to "the cause," immedi- 
ately, and without loss of time, to write articles for said 
papers gratuitously, to circulate said pamphlets, to give 
favorable notices of aaid books, and instantly to find lucra- 
tive situations for hosts of distressed women who were tired 
of the humdrum treadmill of home-lite, and who wished 
to have situations provided where there was no drudgery 
and no labor, but very liberal compensation. Tlie whole 
large army of the incapahles, — the blind, the halt, the 
lame, the weary, and the forlorn, — all seemed inclined to 
choose me as their captain, and to train under my banner. 
Because I had got into a subordinate position on the 
"Great IJemocracy," they seemed to consider that it was 
my immediate buaineas to make the "Great Democracy" 
serve their wants, or to perish in the attempt. 



244 MT ■WIFE AND I 

My friend, Ids Van Arsdel, was a BeriouB, large- minded, 
large-braiaed woman, who hud laid a deep and comprehen- 
sive plan of life, and was adhering to it with a patient and 
silent perseverance. Still, she had no sympathy in that 
class of society where her lot waa cast. Her mother and 
her Aunt Maria were women who lived ami breathed 
merely in the opinions of their set and circle, and were as 
incapable of considering any higher ideal of life, or any 
unworldly purpose, as two canary-birds, Mr. Van Arsdel, 
B quiet, silent man, possessed, a vein of good sense which 
led him to appreciate his eldest daughter at her real worth; 
and he was not insensible to the pleasure of having one 
feminine companion who, as he phrased it, "understood 
business," and with whom he could talk and advise under- 
etandingly. But even he had no sympathy with those 
larger views of the wants and needs of womanhood, in 
view of which Ida was acting. It followed very naturaUy 
that as Ida got no sympathy in her own circle, she was 
led to seek it in the widening sphere of modem reformers 
— a circle in which so much that is fine and excellent and 
practical is inevitably mixed with a great deal that is crude 
and excessive. 

At her request I accompanied her and Eva one evening 
to a sort of New Dispensation salon, which was held weekly 
at the house of Mrs. Stella Cerulean. Mrs. Stella Ceru- 
lean was a brilliant woman — beautiful in person, full of 
genius, full of enthusiasm, full of self- con tide nee, the most 
charming of talkers, and the most fascinating of women. 
Her career from early life had been one of those dazzling 
successes which always fall to the lot of beauty, seconded 
by a certain amount of tact and genius. Of both these 
gifts Mrs. Cerulean had just enough to bewilder the head 
of any gentlenian who made her acquaintance. She had 
in her girlhood made the tour of Europe, shone ua a star in 
the courts of France and BuAsia, and might be excused for 



I AM INTRODUCED TO THE ILLIWIKATI 



245 



B than ordinary share of complacency in her anccesaea, 
1 with handsome women generally, she had, dur- 
ing the greater part of her life, never heard anything but 
flattery from gentlemen, and it always i^eed with her 
remarkably well. But Mrs. Cerulean was one of those 
women with juat intellect and genius enough to render 
her impatient of the mere commonplace triumphs of beauty. 
She felt the intoxicating power of the psraoaal influence 
which she possesaetl, and aspired to reign in the legion of 
the mind as well as to charm the senses. She felt herself 
called to the modern work of aociety regeneration, and 
went into it with all the enthusiasm of her nature, and 
with all that certainty of success which comes from an otter 
want of practical experience. Problems which old states- 
men contemplated with perplexity, which had been the 
despair of ages, she took up with a cheerful alacrity. 

She had one simple remedy for the reconstruction of 
Bociety about whose immediate application she saw not the 
slightest difficulty. It was simply and only to be done by 
giving the alfairs of the world into the hands of women, 
forthwith. Those who only claim equality for women 
were, in Mrs. Cerulean'a view, far behind the age. Wo- 
man was the superior sex. Had not every gentleman of 
her acquaintance, since she could remember, told her this 
with regard to herself) Had they not always told her that 
she could know everything without study, simply by the 
divine intuitions of womanhood ; that she could flash to 
conclusions without reasoning, simply by the brilliancy of 
her eyea ; that her purity was i 
nature; that all her impulses 'v 
given ) Naturally enough, then, 
all that was wanting to heal the n 
waa that she and other such inspired beings should imme- 
diately take to themselves their power, and reiijn. 

Such is a general sketch of Mrs. Cerulean'a view of the 



ncorruptible in its very 
heavenly and God- 
s her deduction that 
8 and wants of society 



2iB 



MY WIFE Airo I 



proper method of introducing the millennium. Meanwhile, 
she did her part in it by holding salons once a week, in 
which people entertaining similar views met for the pur- 
pose, apparently, of a general generation of gas, without 
any particular agreement as to the method in which it 
should he applied. This was the company of people to 
whom Eva rather pathetically alluded in one of her conver- 
sationa, once, as such nice people, who were so very puz- 
zling to her, because no two of them ever eeemed to think 
alike on any subject, and all agreed in opening theit eyes 
very wide in astonishment it anybody quoted the Bible to 
them as an authority in faith and practice. 

Ida was much courted and petted by this circle. And 
sensible, good girl aa she was, she was not wholly without, 
pleasure in the admiration they showed for her. 
again, there were, every evening, ventilated in t 
pany quantities of the moat splendid and heroic 
possible to human beings. The ivhole set seemed to be 
inspired with the spirit of martyrdom, without any 
precise idea of how to get martyred effectually. It was 
only agreed that everything in the present state of societ] 
was wrong, and was to be pulled down forthwith. But 
to what was to come after this demolition, there were 
many opinions in the circle as there were persons, and all 
held with a wonderful degree of tenacity. A portion of 
them were of opinion that a new dispensation fresh from 
the heavenly realms was being inaugurated by means of 
apiritualistic communications daily and hourly conveyed 
privileged individuals. It was, however, unfortunate thai 
these connauui cation a were, very many of them, in point- 
blank opposition to each other; so that the introduction of 
revelations from the invisible world seemed only likely to 
make the confusion worse confounded. Then again, 
oil the existing relations of life, there was the same charm" 
ing variety of opinion. But one thing seemed to be pre) 



And 
dth out^^^^J 

idea^^^l 
to be * 

■17 

M 



I AM INTRODUCED TO THE ILLUMINATI 



247 



generally cooceded among the whole circle, that in the 
good time coming nobody was ever to do anything that ho 
did not want to do, or feel at the moment juet like doing. 
The great object of exiatence apparently was to get rid of 
everything that was disagreeable and painfnl. Thus, quite 
a party of them maintained that all marriage relations ought 
to drop from the moment that either party ceaaed to take 
pleasure in them, without any regard to the interest of the 
other party or the children; because the fundameutal taw 
of existence was happiness — and nothing could make peo- 
ple happy bat liberty to do just as they had a mind to. 

I must confess that I found my evening at Mrs. Ceru- 
lean'a salon a very agreeable one; the conversation of thor- 
oughly emancipated people has a sparkling variety to it 
which i3 exactly the thing to give one a lively, pleasant 
evening. Everybody was full of enthusiasm, and in the 
very best of spirits. And there appeared to be nothing 
that anybody was afraid to say. Nobody was startled by 
anything. There was not a question, as it appeared, that 
had been agitated since the creation of the world that was 
not still open to discussion. 

As we were walking home after spending an evening, 
Ida asked me : — 

"Kow, Mr. Henderson, what do yoa think of itT " 

"Well, Miss Ida," said I, "after all, I'm a believer in 
the old-fashioned Bible." 

"What, really, Mr. Henderson 7" 

"Realty and squarely, Miss Ida. And never more ao 
than when I associate with very clever people who have 
given it up. There ia, to my mind, a want of com- 
mon sense atxnit all theoties of life that are not built on 
that." 

"Well," said Ida, "I have long since made up my mind, 
for my own part, that if the eause of woman is to be ad- 
Tanced in this world, it is not bo much by meeting togethel 



and talking about it, as by each individual uroman propos- 
ing to herself Borne good work for the sex, and setting 
about it patiently, and doing it quietly. That ia rather 
mj idea; at the same time, I like to hear theee people 
talk, and the; certainly ore a great contrast to the vapid 
people that are called good society. There is a freshneSB 
and earnestness of mind about some of them that is teally 
very interesting; and I get a great many new ideas." 

"For my part," said Eva, "to be sure I have been a 
sad idler, but if I were going to devote myself to any work 
for women, it should be in the Church, and under the 
guidance of the Church. I am sure there is something we 
can do there. And then, one 'a sure of not running into 
all sorts of vagaries." 

"Now," said Ida, "all I want ia that women should do 
aomething ; that the lives of girls, from the time they 
leave school till the time they are married, should not be 
such a perfect waste as they now are. I do not profess to 
be certain about any of these theories that I hear; but one 
thing I do know; we women will bear being made a great 
deal more self-sustaining and self-supporting than we have 
been. We can be more efficient in the world, and we 
ought to be. I have choaen my way, and mean to keep to 
it. And my idea is that a woman who really does accom- 
plish a life-work is just like one that cuts the first path 
through a wood. She makes a way where others can 
walk." 

"That's you, Ida," said Eva; "but I am not strong 
enough to out first paths. " 

I felt a little nervous Sutter of her hand on my arm as 
she said this. It was in the dark, and involuntarily, I 
Buppose, my hand went upon hers, and before I thought of 
it I felt the little warm thing in my own as if it had been 
a young bird. It was one of those things that people some- 
times do before they know it. But I noticed that she did 




I AM INTRODUCED TO THE ILLUMINATI 249 

not withdraw her hand, and so I held it, querying in my 
own mind whether this little arrangement was one of the 
privileges of friendship. Before I quite resolved this ques- 
tion we parted at the house door. 



CHAPTEE XXn 

I RECEIVE A MOBAL SHOWEB-BATH 

A DAY or two after, as I was sitting in my room, busy 
writing, I heard a light footstep on the stairs, and a voice 
saying, "Oh yes! this is Mr. Henderson's room — thank 
you," and the next moment a jaunty, dashing young wo- 
man, with bold blue eyes and curling brown hair, with a 
little wicked-looking cap with nodding cock's-feathers set 
askew on her head, came marching up and seated herself at 
my writing-table. I gazed in blank amazement. The ap- 
parition burst out laughing, and, seizing me frankly by the 
hand, said : — 

"Look here, Hal! don't you know me? Well, my dear 
fellow, if you don't, it's time you did! I read your last 
'thingumajig' in the * Milky Way,' and came round to 
make your acquaintance." 

I gazed in dumb amazement while she went on: — 

"My dear fellow, I have come to enlighten you," — and 
as she said this she drew somewhat near to me, and laid 
her arm confidingly on my shoulder, and looked coaxingly 
in my face. The look of amazement which I gave, under 
these circumstances, seemed to cause her great amuse- 
ment. 

"Ha! ha! " she said, "did n't I tell 'em so? You ain't 
half out of the shell yet. You ain't really hatched. You 
go for the emancipation of woman; but bless you, boy, you 
haven't the least idea what it means — not a bit of it, 
sonny, have you now ? Confess ! " she said, stroking my 
shoulder caressingly. 



I RECEIVE A MORAL SHOWER-BATH 251 

"Eeally, madam — I confess," I said heBitatinglj, "I 
have n't the honor " — 

" Not the honor of my acquaintance, you was going to 
say; weJl, that 'a exactly what you 're getting now. I read 
your piece in the ' Milky Way, ' and, said I, that boy 's in 
heathen darkness yet, and I 'ni going round to enlighten 
him. You mean well, Hal I but this ia a great subject. 
You have n't seen through it. Lord bless you, child ! you 
ain't a woman, and I am — that's just the difference." 

Now, I ask any of my readers, what is a modest young 
man, in this nineteenth century, — having been brought up 
to adore and reverence woman as a goddess, — to do, when 
he finds himself vis-a-vis with her in such embairaAsing 
relations as mine were becoming T I had heard before of 
Miss Audacia Daugyereyea as a somewhat noted character 
in New York circles, hut did not expect to be brought so 
unceremoniously, and without the least preparation of mind, 
into such very intimate relations with her. 

"Now, look here, bub !" she said, "I'm just a-going to 
prove to you, ia five minutes, that you 've been writing 
about what you don't know anything about. You 've been 
asserting, in your blind way, the rights of woman to lib- 
erty and equality; the righta of women, in short, to do 
anything that men do. Well, here comes a woman to your 
room who takes her rights, practically, and does just what 
a man would do. I claim my right to smoke if I please, ' 
and to drink if I please; and to come up into your room 
and make you a call, and have a good time with you, if I 
please, and tell you that I like your looks, as I do. Fur- 
thermore, to invite you to come and call on me at my room. 
Here's my card. You may call me 'Dacia, if you like — 
I don't go on ceremony. Come round and take a smoke 
with me this evening, won't youl I've got the nicest 
little chamber that ever you saw. What rent do you pay 
for yours) Say, will you come round I" 



252 



MY WIFE AND I 



" Indeed — thani you, miss " — 

"Call me 'Dacia for short. I don't stand on ceremony. 
Just look on me as another fellow. And now confess that 
you 've been tied and fettered by those vapid convention- 
alities which bind down women till there is no strength in 
'em. You visit in those false, artificial circles, where 
women are slaves, kept like canary-birds in gilded cages. 
And you are afraid of your own principles when you see 
them carried out in a real free woman. Now, I 'm a wo- 
man that not only dares say, but I dare do. Why hasn't 
a woman as much a right to go round and make herself 
agreeable to men, as to sit still at home and wait for men 
to come and make themselves agreeable to lierl I know 
you don't like this, I can see you don't, but it 's only be- 
cause you are a slave to old prejudices. But I 'm going to 
make you like me in spite of yourself. Come, now, bo 
coDBistent with your principles; allow me my equality as a 
woman, a human being." 

I was in such a state of blank amazement by this time M 
seemed to deprive me of all power of self-poeseasion. 
this moment the door opened, and Jim Fellows appeared. 
A most ludicrous grimace passed over his face aa he saw 
the position, and he cut a silent pirouette in the air, behind 
her. She turned her head, and he advanced. 

"Fairest of the sex! (with some slight exceptiona) — -tO'l 
what happy accident are we to attribute this meeting) " 

"Hallo, Jim! ia this you) " she replied, 

" Oh, certainly, it 'a me, " said Jim, seating himself family I 
iarly. "How is the brightest star of womanhood — tlu 
Horthern Light; the Aurora Borealis; the fairest of tb^fl 
fair? Bless its little heart, has it got its rights yet) IK4l 
it want to drink and smoke ) Come along with Jim, : 
and let 's have a social cocktail." 

"Keep your distance, sir," said she, giving him a Blig]i|l 
box on his ear. "I prefer to do my own courting. I barf 



I RECEIVE A MOEAl SHOWER-BATH 



SSS 



been trying to show your friend here how little he knows 
of the true equality of women, and of the good time com- 
ing, when we shall have our rights, and do just as we dam 
please, as you do. I '11 bet now there ain't one of those 
Van Arsdel girls that would dare to do as I 'm doing, But 
we 're opening the way, air, we 're opening the way. The 
time will come when all women will he juat aa free to life, 
liberty, and the purauit of happiness, as men." 

" Good heavens I " said I under my breath. 

"My beloved Audacia," said Jim, "allow me to remark 
one little thing, and that is, that men also must be left free 
to the pursuit of happiness, and also, as the Scripture says, 
new wine must not be put into old bottles. Now, my 
friend Hal — begging his pardon — is an old bottle, and I 
think you have already put aa much new wine into him as 
his constitution will bear. And as he and I both have got 
to make our living by scratching, and tewpus fugit, and 
we 've got articles to write, and there is always, so to speak, 
the Devil after us folks that write for the press, may I 
humbly request that you will withdraw the confusing light 
of your bright eyes from us for the present, and, in abort, 
take your divine self somewhere elae) " 

As Jim spoke these worda, he passed his arm round Miss 
Audacia's waiat, and drew her to the door of the apartment, 
which he threw open, and handed her out, bowing with 
great ceremony. 

"Stop!" she cried, "I ain't going to be put out that 
way. I have n't done what I came for. You both of you 
have got to subscribe for my paper, the ' Emancipated 
Woman. ' " 

"Couldn't do it, divinest charmer," said Jim, "couldn't 
do it; too poor; mill runa low; no water; modest merit 
not rewanled. Wait till my ship oomea in, and T '11 sub- 
scribe for anything you like." 

"Well, now, you don't get rid of me that way, I tell 



you I come in to get a subscription, and I am going to stay 
till I get one," eaid Miss Audacia, "Come, Hal," she 
Baid, croseing once more to me, and Bitting dowu by me 
and taking my liand, "write your name tiiere, there's a 
good fellow. " 

I wrote my name in deaperation, while Jim stood by, 
laughing. 

"Jim," I said, "come, put yours down quick, and let 'a 
hare it over. " 

"Well, now," said she, "fork out the stamps — five 
dollars each." 

We both obeyed mechanically. 

"Well, well," said she good-naturedly, "that'll do lor 
this time, good-morning," and she vanished from the apart- 
ment with a. jaunty toss of the head and a nod of the cock'a- 
featheTs in her hat. 

Jim closed the door smartly after her. 

"Mercy upon usl Jim," said I, "who and what is this 
creature ) " 

"Oh, one of the harbingera of the new millennium," 
said Jim. "Won't it be jolly when all the girla are like 
her! But we shall have to keep our doors locked then." 

"But," said I, "is it possible, Jim, that this is a respec- 
table woman ! " 

"She's precisely what you see," said Jim; "whether 
that 's respectable is a matter of opinion. There 'e a wo- 
man that 'a undertaken, in good faith, to ran and jostle in 
all the ways that men run in. Her principle is, that what- 
ever a young fellow in New York could do, she '11 do," 

" Good heavens I " said I, " what would the Van Arsdels 
think of us, if they should know that she had been in our 
company ! " 

"It's lucky that they don't and can't," said Jim, 
"But you see what jou get for belonging to the New Dia- 
pensation, " 



t SIOBITE A. HOBAL SHOWER-BATH 



255 



" Boys, what 's all thia fuaa ) " said Bolton, coming in 
at thia momeDt. 

"Oh, nothing, only 'Dacia Dangyereyea has been here," 
said Jim, "and poor Hal is ready to faint away and Hink 
through the floor. Ho isn't up to snufE yet, for all he 
writes such magnificent articles ahout the nineteenth cen- 
tury." 

"Well," said I, "it was woman as woman that I was 
speaking of, and not this kind of creature. If I believed 
that granting larger liberty and wider opportunities was 
going to change the women we reverence to thii^a like 
these, you would never find me advocating it." 

"Well, my dear Hal," said Bolton, "be comforted; 
you 're not the first reformer that has had to cry out, ' De- 
liver me from my friends. ' Always, when the waters of 
any noble, generous enthusiasm rise and overflow their 
hanks, there must comedown the driftwood — the wood, 
hay, and stubble. Luther bad more trouble with the 
fanatics of his day, who ran his principles into the ground, 
as they say, than he had with the Pope and the Emperor, 
both together. As to this Miss Audacia, she is one of the 
phenomenal creations of our times; this time, when every 
kind of practical experiment in life has got to be tried, and 
stand or fall on its own merits. So don't be ashamed of 
having spoken the truth because crazy people and fools 
caricature it. It is true, as you have said, that women 
ought to be allowed a freer, stronger, and more generous 
education and scope for their faculties. It is true that they 
ought, everywhere, to have equal privileges with men; and 
because some crack-brained women draw false inferences 
from thia, it ia none the leas true. For my part, I always 
said that one must have a strong conviction for a cause, if 
he could stand the things its friends say for it, or read a 
weekly paper devoted to it. If I could have been made a 
pro-slavery man, it would have been by reading anti-slavery 



papers, and vuje versa. I had to keep myielf on a good 
diet of pro-slavery papers, to keep my zeal up." 

"But," said I anxiously to Jim, "do you suppose that 
we 're going to be exposed to the visits of this young wo- 
man?" 

"Well," said Jim, "as you 've Buhecribed for her paper, 
perhaps she 'U let us alone till she has some other point to 
carry." 

" Subscribe ! " said I ; " I did it from compulsion, to get 
her out of the office ; I did n't think the situation respect- 
Bible; and yet I don't want her paper, and 1 don't want my 
name on her subscription list What if the Van AradelB 
should find it out) People are apt enough to think that 
our doctrines lead to all sorts of outre consequences; and if 
Mrs, Wouvermana, their Aunt Maria, should once get hold 
of this, and it should get all through the circle in which 
they move, how disagreeable it would be." 

"Oh, never fear," said Jim; "I guess we can manage to 
keep our own secrets; and as to any of them ever knowing, 
or seeing, anything about that paper, it 's out of the ques- 
tion. Bleas you I they wouldn't touch it with a pair of 



CHAPTER XXni 



AUNT MABIA 

Aunt Makia came into the parlor where Eva and Alica 
were chatting over their embroidery, A glance showed 
that ehe had heen occupied in that Benaihle and time-hon- 
ored method of keeping up the social virtues, which ia 
called making calla. She was all plumed aad rustling in 
Rowers and laces, and had on her calling manners. She 
had evidently been smiling and bowing and inquiring after 
people's health, and saying pretty and obliging things, till 
the very soul within her was quite dried up and exhausted. 
For it must he admitted that to be obliged to remember 
and inquire for every uncle, annt, and grandmother, every 
haby aad young master and misa, in a circle of one's three 
hundred particular friends, is an exercise of Christian 
benevolence very fatiguing. Aunt Maria, however, always 
went through with it with eshauative thoroughnoaa, so that 
everybody said, What a kind-hearted, pleasant woman that 
Mrs. Wouverraana is. 

"Well, there! " she said, throwing herself into an arm- 
chair, "I 've nearly cleared my list, thank Heaven I I think 
Lent is a grand good season to get these matters off your 
mind. You know Mr. Selwyn said last Sunday that it 
was the time to bring ourselves up to the disagreeable 
duties." 

"How many have you made. Aunty?" said Eva. 

" Just three dozen, my dear. You see I chose a nice 
day when a good many are sure to be out. That shortens 
matters a good deal. Well, girle, I 've been to the El- 



mores', You ought to see what b. state they are ml In 
all my experience I never eaw people so perfectly tipped 
over and beside themBelves with delight. I 'm sure if I 
were they I wouldn't show it quite so plain." 

"I suppose," said Alice, "they are quite benignant and 
patronizing to us now." 

" Patronizing 1 Well, I wish you could have aeen Poll 
Elmore and her aira! You would have thought her a 
duchess from the Faubourg St. Germain, and no leasl She 
was so very sweet and engaging! Dear me, she patronized 
me within an inch of my life ; and ' How are your dear 
girlal ' she said. ' All the world is expecting Ia hear some 
news of Miss Eva; should we soon have an opportunity of 
returning congratulations? ' " 

"Oh, pshaw, Aunt," said Eva uneasily, "what did yon 
say J" 

"Oh I I told her that Eva was in no hurry, that she was 
very reticent of her private affairs, and did not think it in 
good taste to proclaim them. ' Ah, then, there really is 
something in it, ' said she. ' I was telling my girls per- 
haps after all it is mere report; people say so many things. 
Tlie thing was reported about Maria, ' she said, ' long be- 
fore there was any truth in it; ' and then she went on to 
tell me how much Maria had been admired, and how many 
offers she had rejected, and among other things she aaid 
that Mr. Sydney had been at her disposal, — only she 
could n't fancy him. ' You know, ' she said with a senti- 
mental air, ' that the heart ia all in such cases. ' " 

"How perfectly absurd of her," said Eva. 

"I know," said Alice eagerly, "that Wat Sydney doesn't 
like Maria Elmore. She was perfectly wild after him, and 
used to behave so that it really disgusted him." 

"Oh, well," aaid Eva, "all these things are excessively 
disagreeable to me; it aeeras to me where such matters are 
handled and talked about and bandied about, they become 



AUNT MAEIA 269 

like shop-worn goodfl, utterly disgusting. Who wajits every 
fool and fop and every goseip who has nothing better to do 
talking over what ought to be the most private and delicate 
affairs of one's own heart ! " 

"Well, dear, you can't help it in society. Why, every 
person where I have called inquired about your engage- 
ment to Wat Sydney. You eee you r,nn't keep a thing of 
this sort private. Of course you can't. You are in the 
world, and the world will have you do as others do. Of 
course I didn't announce it, because I have no authority; 
but the thing is just as much out as if I had. There was 
old Mrs. Ellis, dear old soul, said to me, ' Give tny love 
to dear Eva, and tell her. I hope she '11 be happy. I sup- 
pose, ' Bhe added, ' I may seud cougratulatioiLs, though it 
isn't announced.' 'Oh,' said I, 'Eva doesn't like to 
have matters of this sort talked about,' " 

"But Aunty," said Eva, who had been coloring with 
vexation, "this is all gratuitous — you are all engaging and 
marrying me in spite of my screams, as appears. I am not 
engaged to Mr, Sydney, and never expect to be; he is gone 
off on a long Southern tour, and I hope out of sight will 
he out of mind, and people will stop talking." 

" But, my dear Eva, really, now, you ought not to treat 
a nice man like him in that way." 

" Treat him in what way ! " said Eva. 

"Why, keep him along in this undecided manner with- 
out giving him a definite answer." 

"He might have had a definite answer any time in the 
last three months if he had asked for it. It is n't my busi- 
ness to speak till I 'm spoken to." 

" You don't mean, Eva, that he has gone off without 
saying anything definite — bringing matters to a point 1 " 

"I do mean just that, Aunty, and what 's more I 'm glad 
he 'h gone, and I hope before he comes hack he '11 see some- 
body that he likes better, and then it'll be all off; and, 



fl«0 MY WIFE AND I 

Aunty, if any one speaks to you about it you '11 oblige me 
by saying decidedly there is nothing in it." 

"Well, I aha'n't say there never has been anything in 
it. I shall say you refused him." 

"And why ao? I nm not anxious to have the credit of 
it, and beeides I think it is indelicate when a man has paid 
a lady the highest possible compliment he can pay, to 
make a public parade of it. It 's sufficient to say theie is 
nothing in it and never will be; it's nobody's buainesa 
how it happened." 

"Oh, come, Eva, don't say there never will be any- 
thing in it, That is a subject on which girls are licensed 
to change their minds." 

"For my part," said Alice, "I only wish it were I. 
I 'd have him in a minute. Aunty, did you see that nobby 
phaeton he was driving the last day he was on the park; 
those horses, and that white fur lap-robe, with the long 
pluffy hair like silver 1 I must say, Eva, I think you are 
a little goose." 

"I've no objection to the park phaeton, or horses, or 
lap-robe; but it isn't those I 'm to marry, you see." 

"But, Eva," said Aunt Maria, "if you wouldn't fancy 
HQch a match as Wat Sydney, who would you 1 he is a 
man of correct and temperate habits, and that 's more than 
you can say of half the men." 

"But a woman doesn't necessarily want to make her 
most intimate and personal friend of a man merely because 
he doesn't drink," said Eva. 

"But he 's good looking." 

"So they say, but not to me, not my stylo. In short. 
Aunty, I don't love him, and never should; and if I were 
tied too close to him might end by hating him. As it is, 
he and I are the best friends possible. I hope we always 
shall stay so." 

" Well, 1 should like to know who ever will suit yon, 
Eva," said Aunt Maria. 



ACNT WAKIA 



261 



"Oh, he will come along. Aunty, never feat! I shall 
know him when I see him, and I dare say everybody will 
Tonder what in the world poBseased me, but / shall be 
content. I know exactly what I want, I 'm like the old 
party in the ' Ancient Mariner. ' I shall know when 1 aee 
him ' the man that must have me, ' and then I shall ' hold 
him with my glittering eye. ' " 

"Well, Eva, you must remember one thing. There are 
not many men able to keep you in the way you tdwa,y8 
have lived." 

k the right o 



i I shall live as he is 



"Then, whet 
able to keep mc 

"Go to housekeeping in three rooms, perhaps. You 
look like it." 

"Yea; and do my own cooking, I'm rather fond of 
cooking ; I have decided genius that way too. Ask Jane 
down in the kitchen if I don't make splendid fritters. 
The fact is. Aunty, I have so much superfluous activity 
and energy that I should be quite thrown away on a rich 
man. A poor country rector, very devout, with dark eyes 
like Longfellow's Kavanagh, is rather my ideal. 1 would 
get up his surplices myself, and make him such lovely fon- 
tals and altar cloths! Why does n't somebody of that sort 
come after me ! I 'm quite impatient to have a sphere 
and show what I can do." 

"Well," said Alice, "you don't catch me marrying a 
poor man. Not I. No home missionaries, nor poor rec- 
tors, nor distressed artists need apply at this office." 

"Now, girls," said Aunt Maria, "lot me tell you it's 
all very pretty at your time of life to dream ahout love in 
a cottage and all that, hut when you have seen all of life 
that I have, you will know tlie worth of the solid ; vrhen 
one has been used to a certain way of living, for example, 
one can't change; and if you married the angel Galxiel 
without money, ycu would soon repent it." 



262 MT WIFE AND I 

"Well," said Eva, "I'd riak it if Gabriel would 1: 
me, and I 'd even try it with aome raan a little lower tl 
the angela; so prepare your mind to endure it, Aunty, for 
one of these daya everybody will be holding up their hands 
and saying, 'What, Eva Van Arsdel engaged to him I 
Why, what could have possessed her! ' That 'a just the 
way I heard Lottie Siramona talking last week about Belle 
St. John's engagement. She is going to marry a college 
professor in New Haven on one of those very homceopathie 
doaea of aalary that people give to really line men that 
have talent and education, and she 'b just as happy as she 
can be about it, and the girls are all scraping their throats, 
' oh-ing and ah-ing ' and wondering what could have led 
her to it. No engagement ring to showl private wedding! 
and just going oft together up to his mother's in Vermont 
instead of making tbe bridal tour of all the watering-places! 
It must he ao charming, you see, to be exhibited as a new 
bride, along with all the other new brides at Trenton and 
Niagara and the White Mountains, ao that everybody may 
have a chance to compare your finery with everybody 
else's, also to see how you conduct yourself in new circum- 
stances. For my part, I shall be very glad if my poor rec- 
tor can't afford it," 

"By the bye, speaking of that girl," said Aunt Maria, 
"what are you going to wear to the wedding? It's quite 
time you were attending to that. I called in at Tulle- 
gig's, and of course she waa all in a whiri, but I put in 
for you. 'Now, Madame,' said I, 'you must leave a 
place in your mind for my girls, ' and of course she went 
on with her usual French rodomontade, but I assure you 
you 'II have to look after her. Tullegig has no conscience, 
and will put you off with anything she can make you take, 
unless you give your mind to it and follow her up." 

"Well, I'm sure, Aunty, I don't feel equal to getting 
a new dress out of Tullegig," said Eva, with a sigh, "and 



AUNT HABIA 



263 



I have dresses enough, any one of which will do. I am 
bluxee with dreasea, and I think weddings are a drug. If 
there's anything that I think downright vulgar and die- 
i^reeable, it 's this style of blaring, flaring, noisy, crowded, 
disagreeable modem weddings. It is a crush of finery ; a 
smash of china; a confusion of voices; and everybody has 
the headache after it; it 's a perfect infliction to think of 
heing obliged to go to another. For my part, I believe I 
am going to leave all those cares to Alice; she ia come out 
now, and I am only Queeo Dowager." 

"Ob, pshaw, Eva, don't talk so," said Aunt Maria, 
"and now I tldnk of it you don't look well, you ought to 
take a tonic in the spring. Let me see, Calisaya bark and 
iron is just the thing. I '11 send you in a bottleful from 
Jennings' as I go home, and you must take a tablespoonful 
three times a day after eating, and be very particular not 
to fatigue yourself." 

"I think," said Alice, "that Eva gets tired going to all 
those early services." 

"Oh, my dear child, yes; how can yon think of such a 
thing) It's very inconsiderate in Mr. Selwyn, I think, 
to have so many services when he must know many wed- 
dings and things are coming off just after Easter. People 
will be all fagged out, just as Eva is. Now I believe in 
the Church as nmch as anybody, but in our day I think 
there is danger in running religion to extremes." 

"Ah!" said Eva, "I suppose there is no danger of one 
Tunning to extremes in anything but religion — in dieaa or 
parties, for instance ? " 

"But you know one has these things to attend to, my 
dear ; one must keep up a certain style ; and, of course, 
there is a proper medium that I hold to as much as any- 
body. Nobody ia more particular about religion in its 
place than I am, I keep Sunday strictly ; very few people 
more bo. I never ride in the Park Sundays, nor write a 



£64 



MY WBra ASD 1 



letter, though I have seen people who called themselves 
religious that would. No. I believe in giving full obser- 
vance to the Lord's day, but then I think one ought to 
have tbe week clear for action. That belongs to us, as I 
view it, and our old rector was very easy with us about all 
the eainta' days, and week-day services, and things in tbe 
Prayer-Book. To be sure, there are Ash Wednesday and 
Good Friday, One, of course, should attend to these, — 
that is no more thao ia proper; but the way Mr. Selwyn 
goes onl why, one wouldn't be able to think of much else 
than religion if he had his way." 

" What a dreadful state of society that would bring on i " 
said Eva. 

"But come, Aunty," said Alice, "don't talk theology; 
tell us what discoveries you made at the El mores'. I knov 
they showed you everything," 

" Oh, of course they did. Well, there 'e the wedding 
veil, cost two thousand dollars ; for my part, I thought it 
looked ordinary after all ; it 's so thick and stilf with em- 
broidery, you see — no lightness to it," 

"I wouldn't take it as a gift," said Eva, "I think fluch 
expensive things are simply vulgar." 

"Go on, Aunty," said Alice, "what nextt" 

"Well, then the dress has a new style of trimming, and 
really is very elegant. I must do it the justice to say that 
it's something quite recherche. And then they took me 
upstairs to see the trousseau, and there was a perfect 
bazaar I all her things laid out by dozens and tied up with 
pink ribbons, — you would have thought it got for tile 
Empress. Those Elmores are the most worldly family I 
ever did hear of; all for dash and showl They seemed to 
be perfectly transported with these things, — and that 
reminds roe, Eva, I noticed last Sunday at church yojr 
new poplin suit was made with quillings ; now they are not 
going to wear quillings any more. I noticed uone of those 



AUNT MARIA 



265 



.ria dresses had them. You should have Jacobs alter yours 
onee, and aubatitute fringes; fringes are the style now." 
" And, Aunty, what do you suppose would happen tp 
1 if I should wear quillings when they doa'tl" said 



"Well, of course, you don't want to be odd, child. 
There is a certain propriety in all these things. I will 
speak to Jacobs about it, and send him up here. Shall 
IJ" 

"Well, Aunty, anything to suit you. Yon may take 
off quillings. Or put on fringe, if you won't insist on mar- 
rying me to anybody," said Eva; "only I do wish any one 
fashion would last long enough to give one time to breathe 
and turn round before it has to be altered; but the Bible 
says the fashion of this world passeth quickly away, and 
so I suppose one must put up with it." 

"Eva, do you correspond with Mr. Sydney I " aaid Aunt 
Maria after a moment's leflectioa. 

"Correspond} No, to be sure I don't. What should 
I do that forT' 

"He writes to mamma, though," said Alice, laughing. 

"It's his own affair if he does," said Eva. "I told 
him, before he went, I never corresponded with gentlemen. 
I believe that is the correct thing to say. I never mean 
to, either, unless it 'a with one whose letters are particularly 
interesting to me." 

"How do you like that young Hendersoni " 

"WTiat, Ida's admirerl" said Eva, coloring. "Oh, we 
think him nice enough. Don't we, Alice? — rather jolly, 
in fact." 

"And does Ida continue gracious? " 

"Certainly. They are the best of friends," said Eva. 
"The fact is, he is quite a fine fellow; and he reads things 
to Ida, and she advises him about his style, you know." 

"He and Jim Fellows always come together," said 



MY WIFE AND I 

Alice; "and I think they are both nice — in fact, rather 
better than the average. He isn't quite such a rattle-cap 
as Jim, but one tritste him more." 

"Well," said Eva, "I don't like a profesBed joker. A 
man that never is in earnest ought to wear the cap and 
bells, aa the court foola used to do in old limea." 

"Oh, bleas you, child," aaid Alice, "that's what Jim 
ia for; he always makea me laugh, and I like to laugh." 

"Don't you think that Mr. Henderson would do nicel; 
for Ida?" said Aunt Maria. 

"Oh, aa to that," said Alice, "neither he nor Jim Fel- 
lows are marrying men. You see, they haven't anything, 
and of course they can't be thinking of such things," 

"But," said Aunt Maria, "Ida is just the wife for a 
poor man. She has a turn for economy, and does n't care 
for drees and show; and could rub and scrub along, and 
help to support the family. I really think she likes work 
for the sake of it. I wish to mercy she could be engaged, 
and get all these dreadful queer plans and notions out of 
her head. I am always so puzzled what in the world to 
tell people when they ask why she doesn't visit and go 
into society." 

"Why not tell the truth," said Eva, "that she prefers 
to help papa in his business 1 " 

"Because, love, that's so odd. People can't under- 
stand it." 

"They can't nnderstend," aaid Eva, "that a woman may 
be tired of leading a lazy life, and want to use her facul- 
ties. Well, 1 'm sure / can understand it. I 'd give all 
the world to feel that I was of aa much real use to any- 
body as Ida is to papa; and I think papa likes it too. 
Poor, dear old papa, with his lovely old white head, who 
just toils and slaves for us, I wish I could help him, too.*'* 

"Well, dear, I can tell you how you can help him." 

"How!" 



AUNT MARU 267 

"Marry Wat Sydney." 

"Nonsense, Aunt, what has that to do with papa? " 
"It would have more to do than you think, " said Aunt 
Maria, shaking her head mysteriously. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

A DISCUSSION OF THE WOMAN QUESTION FROM AXL 

POINTS 

The bold intrusion of Miss Audacia Dangyereyes into my 
apartment bad left a most disagreeable impression on my 
mind. Tbis was not lessened by tbe reception of ber 
paper, wbicb came to band in due course of next mail, 
and wbicb I found to be an exposition of all tbe wildest 
principles of modem Frencb communism. It consisted of 
attacks directed about equally against Cbristianity, mar- 
riage, tbe family state, and all buman laws and standing 
order, wbatsoever. It was mucb tbe same kind of writing 
witb wbicb tbe populace of France was indoctrinated and 
leavened in tbe era preceding tbe first Revolution, and 
wbicb in time bore fruit in blood. In tbose days, as now, 
sucb doctrines were toyed witb in literary salons and aris- 
tocratic circles, wbere tbeir novelty formed an agreeable 
stimulus in tbe vapid commonplace of fasbionable life. 
Tbey were tben, as now, embraced witb entbusiasm by fair 
illuminati, wbo fancied tbat tbey saw in tbem a dawn of 
some millennial glory; and were awakened from tbeir 
dream, like Madame Roland, at tbe foot of tbe guillotine, 
bowing tbeir beads to deatb and crying, "0 Liberty, wbat 
things are done in tby name ! " 

The principal difference between tbe writers on the 
" Emancipated Woman " and tbose of tbe Frencb illumi- 
nati was tbat tbe Frencb prototypes were men and women 
of elegance, culture, and education ; whereas tbeir Ameri- 
can imitators, though not wanting in a certain vigor and 



THE WOMAN QTTESTION 2G9 

re both coaree in expreasion, narrow in edu- 
cation, and wholly devoid of common decency in their 
manner of putting things. It was a paper that a man who 
reverenced his mother and aistera could scarcely read alone 
in his own apartments without blushing with indignation 
and vexation. 

Every holy secret o( human nature, all those subjects of 
which the grace and the power consist in their exquisite 
delicacy and tender refinement, were here handled with 
coarse fingers. Society assumed the aspect of a pack of 
breeding animals, and all its laws and institutions were to 
return to the mere animal basis. 

It was particularly annoying to me that this paper, with 
all its coarseness and groasness, set itself up to be the head 
leader of Woman's Eights; and to give its harsh clamors 
as the voice of woman. Neither was I at all satisfied with 
the manner in which I had been dragooned into taking it, 
and thus giving my name and money to its circulation, I 
had actually been bullied into it; because, never having 
contemplated the possibility of such an existence as a 
female bully, I had marked out in my mind no suitable 
course of conduct adequate to the treatment of one. 
"What should I have donel" I said to myself. "What 
is a man to do under such circumstances } Shall he en- 
gE^e in a personal scuffle 1 Shall he himself vacate hia 
apartment, or shall he call in a policeman ] " 

The question assumed importance in my eyes, because it 
wae quite possible that, having come once, she might come 
again ; that the same course of conduct might be used to 
enforce any kind of exaction which she should choose to 
lay on me. But most of all was I sensitive lest by any 
means some report of it might get to the Van Arsdele. 
My trepidation may then be guessed on having the aubject 
at once proposed to me by Mr, Van Atsdel that evening afl 
I was sitting with him and Ida in her study. 



270 MY WIFE AND I 

"I want to know, Mr. Henderaoa," he Baid, "if you 
are a subacriber for the ' Emancipated Woman, ' the new 
organ of the Woman's Rights party! " 

"Bow, papa," eaid Ida, "that is a little unjust! It 
only professes to be an organ of the party, but it is not 
recognized by us." 

"Have you seen the paper?" eaid Mr, Van Arsdel to 
me. Like a true Yankee I avoided the question by asking 
another. 

"Have you subscribed to it, Mr. Van Aiadell " 

"Well, yes," said he, laughing, "I confess I have; and 
a pretty mesa I have made of it. It is not a paper that 
any decent man ought to have in his house. But the 
woman came herself into my counting-room and, actually, 
she badgered me into it; I couldn't get her out. I didn't 
know what to do with her. I never had a woman go on 
BO with me before. I waa flustered, and gave her my five 
dollars to get rid of her. If she had been a man I 'd have 
knocked her down." 

"Oh, papa," said Ida, "I'll tell you what you should 
have done; you should have called me. She'd have got 
no money and no subscriptions out of me, nor you eithai 
if I'd been there." 

"Now, Mr. Henderson, misery loves company; has she 
been to your roomi " said Mr. Van Arsdel. 

"I confess she has," said I, "and that I have done just 
vhst you did — yielded at once." 

"Mr. Henderson, all this sort of proceeding is thor- 
oughly vexatious and disagreeable," said Ida; "and all the 
more so that it tends directly to injure all women who are 
trying to be self-supporting and independent. It destroys 
that delicacy and refinement of feeling which men, and 
American men especially, cherish toward women, and wiU 
make the paths of self-support terribly hard to those who 
have to tread them. There really is not the slightest cea- 



THE WOMAN QIJE8TI0N 



271 



Bon why a woman should cease to he a woman because she 
chooses to be independent and pursue a self-supporting 
career. And claiming a right to dispense with womanly 
decorums and act like a man is just as ridiculous as it 
would be for a man to claim the right to wear woman's 
clothes. Even if we supposed that society were so altered 
ae to give to woman every legal and every social right that 
man baa; and if all the customs of society shoidd allow her 
to do the utmost that she can for herself, in the way of 
self-support, still, women will be relatively weaker than 
men, and there will be the same propriety in their being 
treated with consideration and delicacy and gentleness that 
there now is. And the assumptions of these hoydens and 
bullies have a tendency to destroy that feeling of chivalry 
and delicacy on the part of men. It is especially annoying 
and galling to me, because I do propose to myself a path 
different from that in which young women in my position 
generally have walked; and such reasoners as Aunt Maria 
and all the ladies of her circle will not fail to confound 
Miss Audacia's proceedings and opinions, and mine, as all 
belonging to the same class, As to the opinions of the 
paper, it is mainly hy the half truths that are in it that it 
does mischief. If there were not real evils to be corrected, 
and real mistakes in society, this kind of thing would have 
no power. As it is, I have no doubt that it will acquire 
a certain popularity and do immense mischief. I think 
<he elements of mischief and confusion in our republic are 
fast as they did in France before the Revolu- 



"And," said I, "after all, republics are on trial before 
he world. Our experiment is not yet two hundred years 
lid, and we have all sorts of clouds and storms gathering 
— the labor question, the foreign immigration question, 
ie woman question, the monopoly and corporation que»- 
iion, all have grave aspects." 



S72 MT WITE AND I 

"Yoti see, Mr. Headerson," said Ida, "as to this 
woman question, the moderate party to which I belong b 
juat at that disadvantage that people always are when there 
ia a party on ahead of them who hold some of their princi- 
ples and are carrying them to every ridiculous extreme. 
They have to uphold a truth that is constantly being 
brought into disrepute and made ridiculous by these ultra 
advocates. For my part, all I can do ia to go quietly on 
with what I knew was right before. What is right is 
right, and remains right no matter how much ultraista may 
caricature it." 

"Yes, ray daughter," said Mr. Van Aredel, "but what 
would become of our country if all the women could vote, 
and people like Miss Audacia Dangyereyes should stump 
the country as candidates for election 1 " 

"Well, I am sure," said Ida, "we should have very dis- 
agreeable times, and a great deal to shock us," 

"It ia not merely that," said Mr. Van Arsdel; "the in- 
fluence of Buch women on young men woiUd be demoraliz- 
ing." 

"When I think of such dangers," said Ida, "I am, on 
the whole, very well pleased that there is no immediate 
prospect of the suffrage being granted to women until a 
generation with superior education and better balanced 
minds and better habits of consecutive thought shall have 
grown up among us. I think the gift of the ballot will 
come at last as the result of a superior culture and educa- 
tion. And I am in no hurry for it before." 

"What is all thia that you are talking about T" said 
Eva, who came into the room just at this moment. "Ma 
and Aunt Maria are in auch a state about that paper that 
papa has just brought borne 1 They say there are most 
horrid things in it. Mi. Henderson j and they say that it 
belongs to the party which you, and Ida, and all your pro- 
gressive people are in." 



J 



THE WOMAN QDE8T10H 27S 

"It ia an excrescence of the party," said I; "a diseafled 
growth; and neither Misa Ida nor 1 will accept of it as 
any expiession of our opinion, though it does hold some 
things which we believe." 

"Well," said Eva, "I am curioua to see it, just because 
they don't want I should. What can theie be in it so 
very bad ! " 

"You may as well keep out of it, chick," said her 
father, caressing her. "And now, I'll tell you, Ida, just 
what I think ; you good women are not fit to govern the 
world, because you do not know, and you oughtn't to 
know, the wickedness that you have got to govern. We 
men have to know all about the rogues, and the sharpers, 
and the pickpockets, and the bullies; we have to grow 
hard and aharp, and ' cut our eye-teeth,' aa the saying is, 
ao that at last we come to not having much faith in any- 
body. The rule is, pretty much, not to believe anybody 
that you meet, and to take for granted that every man that 
you have dealings with will cheat you if he can. That 's 
bad enough, but when it comes to feeling that every 
woman will cheat you if she can, when women cut their 
eye-teeth, and get to be sharp, and hard, and tricky, as 
men are, then I aay. Look out for yourself, and deliver 
me from having anything to do with them." 

"Why, really!" said Eva, "papa is getting to he quite 
an orator. I never heard him talk so much before. Papa, 
why don't you go on to the plattoira at the next Woman's 
Bights Convention, and give them a good blast? " 

"Oh, I'll let them alone," said Mr. Van Aradel; "I 
don't want to be mixed up with them, and I don't want 
my girls to be, either. Now, I do not object to what Ida 
ia doing, and going to do. I think there is real sense in 
that, although mother and Aunt Maria feel ao dreadfully 
about it. I like to see a woman have pluck, and set her- 
self to be good for something in the world. And I don't 



£74 



MT WIFE AND I 



Bee why there shouldn't be women doctors; it U just the 
thing there ought to be. But I don't go for all this hur- 
rah and hullaballoo, and pitching women head-first into 
politics, aod sending them to legislatures, end making them 
candidates for Congresa, and for the Presidency, and no- 
body knows what else." 

"Well," said I, "why not a woman President as well 



lof 



said he, " look at the difference. The 
woman Queen io England comea to it quietly; ahe is born 
to it, and there is no fuas about it. But whoever is set 
up to be President of the United States is just eet ap to 
have bis character torn off from his back in shreds, and to 
be mauled, pommeled, and covered with dirt by every 
filthy paper all over the country. And do woman that 
was not willing to he draf^led through every kennel, and 
slopped into every dirty pail of water, like an old mop, 
would ever consent to run as a candidate. Why, it 's an 
ordeal that kills a man. It killed General Harrison, and 
killed old 2^ck. And what sort of a brazen tramp of a 
woman would it be that could stand it, and come out of it 
without being killed 1 Would it be any kind of a woman 
that we should want to aee at the head of our government 1 
I tell you, it 'e quite another thing to be President of a 
democratic republic from what it is to be hereditary 
Queen." 

"Good for you, papa!" said Eva, clapping her hands. 
"Why, how you go on! I never did hear such eloquence. 
No, Ida, set your mind at rest, you sha'n't be run for 
President of the United States, You are a great deal too 
good for that." 

"Now," said Mr. Van Arsdel, "there's your friend, 
Mrs. Cerulean, tackled me the other night, and made a 
convert of me, she said. Bless me t she 's a handsome 
woman, and I like to bear her talk. And if we didn't 



THE WOMAN QUESTION 



276 



live in the world we do, and thiDga were n't in any respect 
what they are, nothing would be nicer than to let her gov- 
ern the world. But in the great rough round of business 
she's nothing but a pretty baby after all, — nothing else 
in the world. We let such women convert ua, because we 
like to have them around. It amuses us, and don't hurt 
them. But you can't let your baby play with matches 
and gunpowder, if it wants to ever so much. Women are 
famous for setting things a-going that they don't know 
anything about. And then, when the explosion comes, 
they don't know what did it, and run screaming to the 

"As to Mrs. Cerulean," said Eva, "I never saw any- 
body that had such a perfectly happy opinion of herself as 
she has. She always thinks that she understands every- 
thing by intuition, I believe in my heart that she 'd walk 
into the engine-room of the largest steamship that ever waa 
navigated, and turn out the chief engineer and take his 
place, if he 'd let her. She 'd navigate by woman's God- 
given instincts, as she calls them." 

"And BO she 'd keep on till she 'd blown up the ship," 
said Mr. Van Arsdel. 

"Well," said I, "one fact is to be admitted, that men, 
having always governed the world, must by this time have 
acquired a good deal of traditional knowledge of the science 
of government, and of human nature, which women can't 
learn by intuition in a minute." 

"For my part," said Ida, "I never was disposed to in- 
sist on the immediate granting of political rights to women, 
I think that they are rights, and that it is very important 
for the good of society that these rights should finally be 
respected. But I am perfectly willing, for my part, to 
wait and come to them in the way, and at the time, that 
will be best for the general good. I would a great deal 
rather come to them by gradual evolution than by d 



I7G UT WIFE AND I 

tive revolution. I do not want thorn to be forced upon 
iociety, when there is so little preparation among women 
that they will do themselveB no credit by it. All history 
shows that the most natural and undeniable human rights 
may be granted and maintained in a way that will just 
defeat themselves, and bring discredit on all the aupporteia 
of them, just aa waa the case with the principles of demo- 
cratic liberty in the tirat French Revolution, I do not 
want tho political rights of woman advocated in a manner 
that will create aimilaj disturbances, and bring a lasting 
scandal on what really is the truth. I do not want women 
to have the ballot till they will do themselves credit and 
improve society by it. I like to have tbe subject pro- 
posed, and argued, and E^itated,' and kept up, in hopes 
that a generation of women will be educated for it. And 
I think it is a great deal better and safer, where it can be 
done, to have people educated for the ballot, than to have 
them educated by the ballot. " 

"Well, Ida, there 'a more sense in you than in the most 
of 'em," said Mr. Van Arsdel. 

"Yea," said Ida, "I think that an immediate rush into 
politics of such women as we have now, without experience 
or knowledge of political economy of affairs, would be, as 
Eva says, just like women's undertaking to manage the 
machinery of a large steamer by feminine instincts. I 
hope never to see women in public life till we have had a 
generation of women who have some practical familiarity 
with the great subjects which are to be considered, about 
which now the best instructed women know comparatively 
nothing. The question which mainly interests me at pre- 
sent is a. humanitarian one. It 's an absolute fact that a 
great portion of womankind have their own living to get; 
and they do it now, as a general rule, with many of the 
laws and institutions of society against them. The reason 
of this is, that all these laws and institutions have been 






THE WOMAN QUESTION 



277 

made by men, without any consent or concurrence of theirs. 
14'ow, as women ate different from men, and have altogether 
a different class of feelings and wants and necessities, it 
certainly is right and proper that they should have some 
share in making the laws with which they are to be gov- 
erned. It is true that the lawa have been made by fathers 
and brothers and husbands; but no man, however near, 
ever comprebendB fully the necessities and feelings of 
women. And it seems to me that a State where all the 
laws are made by men, without women, is just like a fam- 
ily that is managed entirely by fathers and brothers, with- 
out any concurrence of mothers and sisters. That 'a my 
testimony, and my view of the matter." 

"I don't see," said Eva, "it women are to make the 
lawa in relation to their own interests, or to have a voic« 
in making them, why they need go into politics with men 
in order tp do it, or why they need cease to act like women. 
If the thing has got to be done, I would have a parliament 
of women meet by themselves, and deliberate and have a 
voice in all that concerns the State. There, that 'a my 
contribution to the programme." 

"That's the way the Quakers manage their affairs in 
their yearly meetings," said Ida, "I remember I was 
visiting A«nt Dinah once, during a yearly meeting, and 
learned all about it. I remember the sisters had a voice 
in everything that was done. The Quaker women have 
acquired in this way a great deal of facility in the manage- 
ment of business, and a great knowledge of affairs. They 
really seem to me superior to the men." 

"I can account for that," said I. "A man among the 
Quakers is restricted and held in, and hasn't as much to 
cultivate and develop him as ordinary men in the world ; 
whereas, woman, among the Quakers, has her sphere wid- 
ened and developed." 

At this moment our conversation was interrupted by the 



278 MY WnfK AKD I 

entrance of Jim Fellowe. He eeemed quite out of breath 
and excited, and hod no aoouer passed the compliments of 
the evening thiui he began. 

"Well," said he, "Hal, I have juat come from the Po- 
lice Court, where there 'a a. precious row. Our friend 'Dacia 
Dangyereyes is up for blackmailing and swindling; and 
there 'a a terrible wash of dirty linen going on. I was just 
in time to get the very earlieet notes for our paper," 

"Good I" said Mr. Van Arsdel, "I hope the creature 
is caught at laat, " 

"Never believe that," said Jim. "She has as many 
lives as a cat. They never '11 get a hold on her. She '11 
talk 'em all round." 

" Disgusting .' " aaid Ida. 

"Ah!" said Jim, "it's part of the world as it goes. 
She'll come off with flying colors, doubtless, and her 
cock's-feathers will be flaunting all the merrier for it." 

"How horribly disagreeable," said Eva, "to have such 
women around. It makes one ashamed of one's sex." 

"I think," said Ida, "there ia not suflicient resemblance 
to a real woman in her to make much trouble on her ao 
count. She 's an amphibious animal, belonging to a tian- 
sitioQ period of human society." 

"Well," said Jim, "if you '11 believe it, Mrs. Cerulean 
and two or three of the ladies of her set are actually going 
to invite 'Dacia to their salon, and patronize her." . 

"Impossible!" said Ida, flushing crimson; "it cannot 
he!" 

"Oh, you don't know Mra. Cerulean," said Jim; "'Dacia 
called on her with her newspaper, and conducted herself 
in a most sweet and winning manner, and cast herself at 
ber feet for patronage; and Mrs. Cerulean, regarding her 
through those glory spectacles which she usually wears, 
took her up immediately as a promising candidate for the 
latter day. Mrs. Cerulean don't see anything in 'Dacia's 



i 



THE WOMAN QUESTION 



279 



paper that, properly interpreted, need make any trouble; 
because, you see, as ehe says, everything ovght to be love, 
everywhere, above and below, under and over, up and 
down, top and side and bottom, ottght to be love, love. 
And then when there 's general aU - overness and all- 
thioughnesa, and an entire mixed-up-ativenesa, then the 
infinite will come down into the finite, and the finite will 
overflow into the infinite, and, in short, Mise 'Dacia's 
cock's-feutbers will sail right straight up into heaven, and 
we shall see her cheek by jowl with the angel Gabriel, 
promenading the streets of the new Jerusalem. That 'a 
the programme. Meanwliile, 'Dacia 's delighted. She 
hadn't the remotest idea of being an angel, or anything of 
the sort; but since good judges have told her she is, she 
takes it all very contentedly." 

"Oh," said Ida, "it really can't be true, Mr. Fellows; 
it really is impossible that such ladies as Mrs, Ceiulean's 
set — ladies of family and position, ladies of real dignity 
and delicacy — are going to indorse the principles of that 
paper; principles which go to the immediate dissolution of 
civilized society." 

"That's just what they are doing," said Jim; "and 
they are having a glorious high old time doing it too. Mis. 
Cerulean herseU intends to write for the paper on the sub- 
ject of fortification and twentification and unification, and 
everything else that ends with ation. And it is thought 
it will improve the paper to have some nice little hymns 
inserted in it, to the tune of ' I Want to be an Angel. ' I ■ 
asked Mrs. Cerulean what if my friend 'Dacia should rip 
an oath in the midst of one of her salons — you know the 
little wretch does swear like a pirate; and you ought to 
see how serenely she looked over my head into the far dis- 
tant future, and answered me so tenderly, as if I had been 
a two hours' chicken peeping to her. ' Oh, James,' aays 
she, ' there are many opinions yet to be expressed on the 



subject of what is commonly called profanity. I have 
arrived at the conclusion myself, that in impassioned na- 
tures what is called profanity is only the state of prophetic 
exaltation which naturally seeks vent in intensified lan- 
guage. I should n't think the worse of this fine vigorous 
creature if, in a moment's inspired frenzy, she should burst 
the tame boundaries of ordinary language. It is true, the 
vulgar might call it profane. It requires anointed eyes to 
see such things truly. When we have risen to these 
heights where we now stand, we behold all things purified. 
There is around us a new heaven and a. new earth,' And 
BO you see, 'Dacia Dangyereyes turns out a tip-top angel of 
the Hew Dispensation." 

"Well," said Ida, rising, with heightened color, "this, 
of course, ends my intercourse with Mrs. Cerulean, if it be 
true." 

"But," said Eva, "how can they bear the scandal of 
this disgraceful trial 1 This certainly will open their eyes." 

"Oh," said Jim, "you will see, Mrs. Cerulean will ad- 
here all the closer for this. It 's persecution, and virtue 
in all ages has been persecuted; therefore, all who are per- 
secuted are virtuous. Don't you see the logical consis- 
tency 1 And then, don't the Bible say, ' Blessed are ye 
when men persecute you, and say alt manner of evil against 
you ' ) " 

"It don't appear to me," said Ida, "that she can so far 
go against all common sense." 

" CommoTi sense!" said Jim; "Mrs. Cerulean and her 
clique have long since risen above anything like common 
sense; all their sense ia of the most uncommon kind, and 
relates to a, rpgion somewhere up in the clouds, where 
everylliiiig is made to match. They live in an imaginary 
world, and reason with imaginary reasons, and see people 
through imaginary spectacles, and have glorious good times 
all the while. All I wish is, that I could get up there 



THE WOMAN QUESTION 



281 



and live; for you see I get into the state of prophetic eo- 
etaay pretty often with this confounded hard grind below 
here, and then, when I rip out a naughty word, nohody 
sees the beauty of it. Mother looks glum. Sister Nell 
says, 'Ob, Jim!' and looks despairing." 

"But the fact is," said Mr. Van Arsdel, "Mrs. Cerulean 
is a respectable woman, of respectable family, and this girl 
is a tramp; that 's what she is; and it is absolutely impoB- 
sible that Mrs. Cerulean csd know what she is about." 

"Well, I delicately suggested some such thing to Mrs. 
Cerulean," said Jim; "but, bless me! the way she set me 
down! Says she, ' Do you men ever inquire into the char- 
acter of people that you unite with to carry your purposes t 
You join with anybody that will help you, without regard 
to antecedents ! ' " 

"She don't speak the truth," said Mr. Van Aiadel. 
"We men are very particular about the record of those we 
join with to carry our purposes. You would n't find a 
board of bankers taking a man that had a record for swin- 
dling, or a man that edited a paper arguing against all rights 
of property. Doctors won't admit a man among them who 
has the record of a quack or a mat practitioner, Clergymen 
won't admit a man among them who has a record of licen- 
tiousness or infidel sentiments. And if women will admit 
women in utter disregard of their record of chastity or 
their lax principles as to the family, they act on lower 
principles than any body of men," 

"Besides," said I, "that kind of tolerance cuts the very 
ground from under the whole woman movement; for the 
main ar^ment for proposing it was to introduce into poli- 
tics that superior delicacy and purity which women mani- 
fest in family life.. But if women are going to be less 
careful about delicacy and decorum and family purity than 
men are, the quagmire of politic^ foul enough now, will 
become putrid." 



MY WIFE AND I 

"Oh, come," eaid Eva, "tlie Babject does get too dread- 
ful; I can't bear to think of it, and I move that we have 
a game of whiBt, and put an end to it. Come, now, do 
let 'b sit down sociably, and have soraething agreeable." 

We went out into the parlor and sat down to the whist- 
table, Eva and Alice, with Jim Fellows and myself respec- 
tively as partners, and indulged ourselves in one of those 
agreeable chatty games which make the designation "whist " 
quite an amusing satire — one of those games played with 
that charming disregard of all rules which is so inspiring. 
In the best of epirits we talked across the table to each 
other, trumped our partners' queens, and did all eorts of 
enormities in the excitement of the brilliant by-play of 
conversation which we kept up all the while. It may be 
a familiar experience to many, that one never thinks of 
so many things to say, and so many fruitful topics for im- 
mediate discuGsion, as when one professes to be playing 
whiat. But then, if a young gentleman wishes a good 
opportunity to reconnoitre a certain face, no more advan- 
tageous position can be given him than to have it vis-a-via 
at the whists table. 

"Now, Mr, Henderson," said Alice, "we are going to 
make a good Churchman of you." 

"I am happy to hear it," said I. "I am ready to be 
made anything good of that you can mention," 

" Well, " said Alice, " we are going to preaa you and Mr. 
Tellows, here, into the service of the Church." 

"Shall be perfectly enchanted!" said Jim. "If the 
Church only knew ray energies, they would have tried to 
get me long before." 

"Then," said Eva, "you must go with us to-morrow 
evening; for we are going to be up all night, about the 
floral decorations of our church for Easter morning, Ohl 
you have no idea what splendid things we are going to do. 
We shall be at work hard, all day to-morrow, upon oui 



THE WOMAN QUESTION 288 

wreaths and crosses; and the things must all be put up late 
at night so as to keep them from withering. Then, you 
know, we must be out again to the sunrise service." 

"Why," said I, "it is a regular piece of dissipation." 

"Certainly, — religious dissipation, you know," said 
Alice. 

"Well," said Eva, "I don't know why we shoidd not 
be up all night to dress the church, for once in our lives, 
as well as to be up all night dancing the german. Ida 
says it is wicked to do either. Ida makes a perfect hobby 
of everybody's keeping their health. " 

"Yes, but," said I, "if people keep themselves, gener- 
ally, in temperance and soberness, they can afford a great 
strain, now and then, if it be for a good purpose." 

"At any rate," said Eva, "you and Mr. Fellows come 
round and take tea with us and help us carry our trophies 
to the church." 




AsorT this time 1 received tlie following letter from my 
Cousin Caroline : — 

Dear Cojjsin, — I have had no time to keep up corre- 
spondence with anybody for the past year. The state of 
my father's health has required my constant attention, day 
and night, to a degree that has absorbed all my power, and 
left no time foe writing. For the last six months father 
has been perfectly helpless with the most distressing form 
of chronic rheumatism. His euiferings have been pro- 
tracted and intense, so that it has been wearing even to 
witness them; and the utmost that I could do seemed to 
bring very little relief. And when, at last, death closed 
the scene, it seemed to be in mercy, putting an end to 
sufferings which were intolerable. 

For a month after his death I was in a state of utter 
prostration, both physical and mental, — worn out with 
watching and care. My poor fatherl he was himself to 
the last, reticent, silent, undemonstrative, and uncommuni' 
cative. It seemed to me that I would have given worlds 
for one tender word from him. I felt a pity and a love 
that I dared not show; his sufferings went to my very 
heart; but he repelled every word of sympathy, and waa 
cold and silent to the last. Yet I believe that he really- 
loved me, and that far within this frozen circle of ice his 
soul was a lonely prisoner, longing to express itself, and 
unable; longing for the light and warmth of that Iotb 



COUSIN CAKOLIKE AQAUT S85 

vhich never could touch him in its icy depths; and I am 
quite sure, it is my corafort to know, that death has broken 
the ice and melted the bands ; and I believe that he haa 
entered the kingdom of tieaven as a little child. 

The hard skies of our New ^England, its rocky Boil, ite 
aeveTe necessities, make characters like his; and they in- 
trench themselves in a eimilar religious faith which makes 
them still harder. They live to aspire and to suffer, but 
never to express themselves; and every soft and warm 
heart that is connected with them pines and suffers and 
dies like flowers that are thrown upon icebergs. 

Well, all is now over, and I am free of the world. I 
have, in the division of the property, a few acres of wood- 
lot, and many acres of rough, stony land, and about a 
hundred dollars of yearly income. I must do something, 
therefore, (or my own support. Ever since you left ua I 
have been reading and studying under the care of your 
uncle, who, since your conversation with him, has been 
very kind and thoughtful. But then, of course, my stud- 
ies have been interrupted by some duties, and, during the 
last year, suspended altogether by the necessity of giving 
myself to the care of father. 

Now, my desire is, if I could in any way earn the 
means to go to France and perfect myself in medical stud- 
ies. I am told that a medical education can be obtained 
there by women cheaper than anywhere else; and I have 
cast about in my own mind how I might earn money 
enough to enable me to do it. Now I ask you, who are in 
New York and on the press, who know me thoroughly, 
and it also, could I, should I come to New York, gain any 
situation as writer for the press, which would give me an 
income for a year or two, by which I could make enough 
to accomplish my purpose! I should not wish to be always 
a writer; it would he too exhausting; but if I could get 
into a profession that I am well adapted for, I should ex- 
pect to succeed in it. 



I have tlie ability to live and make a reapectAble appear- 
ance upon a very little, I know enough, practically, of 
the arts of woman-craft to clothe myself handsomely for a 
email aura, and I am willing to live in cheap, ohscure 
lodgings, and think I could board myBelf, also, for a very 
moderate aura. I am willing to undergo privations, and 
to encounter hard work to carry my purpose, and I write 
to you, dear cousin, hecause I know you will apeak to me 
just as freely aa though I were not a woman, and give me 
your unbiased opinion as to whether or no I could do any- 
thing in the line that I indicate. I know that you would 
give me all the assistance in your power, and feel a perfect 
reliance upon your friendship. 

The letter here digressed into local details and family 
incidents not necessary to be reproduced. I resolved to 
lay it before Bolton. It seemed to me that hia reception 
of it would furnish some sort of clue to the mystery of hia 
former acquaintance with her. The entire sUence that he 
had always maintuined with regard to his former knowledge 
of her, while yet he secretly treasured her picture, seemed 
to me to indicate that he might somehow have been con- 
nected with that passage of her life referred to by my 
mother when she eaid that Caroline's father had, at one 
period of her life, crushed out an interest that waa vital to 

"The sly old fox," said 1 to myself, "always draws me 
on to tell him everything, while he keeps a close mouth, 
and I learn nothing of him." Of course, I felt that to ask 
any questions or seek to pry into a past which he evidently 
was not disposed to talk about, would be an indelicate im- 
pertinence. But my conscience and sense of honor were 
quite appeased by this opportunity presented by Caroline's 
letter. Bolton was older in the press than I and, with all 
Ub reticence and modesty, had a wide circle of influence. 



C0D8IN CAROLINE AGAIN 



287 



Hb seemed contented to seek nothing for himBelf; but I 
had had occasion to notice in my own experience that he 
was not boasting idly when he said, on our flrat acquaint- 
ance, that he had some iniluence in literary quarters. He 
had already procured for me, from an influential magazine, 
propoaitionH for atticlee which were both flattering to my 
pride and lucrative in the remuneration. In this way, the 
prospect of my yearly income, which on the part of the 
" Groat Democracy " was ao very inadequate, was enlai^d 
to a very respectable figure. 

I resolved, therefore, to go up to Bolton's room and put 
this letter into his hands. I knocked at the door, but no 
one answering I opened it and went in. He was not there, 
but an odd enough scene pieaented itself to rae. The little 
tow-headed, freckled boy, that I had formerly remarked as 
an inmate of the apartment, waa seated by the fire with a 
girl, somewhat younger than himself, nursing between them 
a large tat bundle of a baby. 

"Hallo," Baid I, "what have we hereT What are you 
doing here 1 " At this moment — before the children could 
answer — I heard Bolton coming up the stairs. He en- 
tered the room; a bright color mounted to his cheeks as he 
saw the group hy the fire, and me. 

"Hallo, Hal," he said, with a sort of conscious laugh. 

"Hallo, Bolton I" said L "Have you got a. foundling 
hospital here 1 " 

"Oh, well, well," said he; "never mind; let 'em stay 
there. Do you want anything^ There," said he, pulling 
a package of buns out of bis pocket, "eat those; and when 
the baby gets asleep you can lay her on the bed in the 
other room. And there," — to the hoy, — "you read this 
story aloud to your sister when the baby is asleep. And 
now, Hal, what can I do for you 1 Suppose I come down 
into your room for a while and talkl " 

fie took my arm, and we went down the stairs together; 




388 MY WIFB AND I 

and when we got into my room he shut the door, and bi 
"The fact is, Hal, I have to take care of that family — 
my washerwoman, you know. Poor Mrs. Molloy, she has 
a husband that about oacs a month makes a perfect devil 
of himself, ao that the children are obliged to run and hide 
for fear of their lives. And then she has got the way of 
sending them to me, and I have to go down and attend to 
him. " 

"BlesB me! " said I, "why will women live with such 
brutes ) Why don't you make her separate from him 1 " 

Bolton seated himself at my table, and leaned back In 
his chair, with a curioua expression of countenance, very 
sad, yet not without a touch of humor in it. 

"Well, you see," he said, "the fact is, Hal, she lovea 

"Well, she oughtn't to love him," said I, 

"Maybe not; but she does," said he. "She loves that 
poor'Pat Molloy so much that to be angry with him is just 
like your right hand being angry with your left hand. 
Suppose there 's a great boil on the left hand, what 's the 
right to do about it but simply bear the suffering and wait 
for it to get weill That, you see, is love; and because 
of it, you can't get women away from their husbands. 
What are you going to do about it ? " 

"But," said I, "it is perfectly absurd for a woman to 
ding to such a man." 

"Well," said Bolton, "three weeks of the month Pat 
Molloy is just as kind and tender a father and husband as 
JDU will find, and then by the fourth week comes around 
his drunken spell, and he 'a a devil. Kow she says, ' Sure 
air, it's the drink. It's not Pat at all, sir; he 'a not 
himself, air. ' And she waits till it 's over — taking care 
that he does n't kill the children. Now, shall I persuade 
her to let him go to the devill Does not Jesus Christ say, 
' Qathei up the fragments that nothing be lost 'I He ai 



J 



COUSIN CAROLINE AGAIN 289 

it about a basket of bread; wouldn't he say it still mon 
about the fragments of the hiimaii bouII If she leaves 
Pat, where will he go to 1 First, to some harlot, then to 
murder, and the gallows — and that gets bim out of the 

" Well," said I, " is n't he better out than in I " 

"Who knows!" said Bolton. "All I have to say is, 
that poor Molly MoUoy, with her hroad Irish brogue, and 
her love that can't be tired, and can't give him up, and 
that bears, and believes, and hopes, and endures, seems to 
me a revelation of the ChrisHike spirit a thousand times 
more than if she was tramping to a Woman's Eights Con- 
vention, and exposing her wrongs, and calling down justice 
on his head." 

"But," said I, "look at the children! Oughtn't she to 
part with bim on their account! " 

"Yes, look at the children," said he. "The little things 
have learned already, from their mother, to care for each 
other, and to care for their father. In their little childish 
way, they love and bear with him just as she does. The 
boy came to nie this afternoon and said, ' Father 's got an- 
other crazy spell. ' Already he bas a delicacy in his very 
mode of speaking; and he doesn't say his father is drunk, 
but that be is crazy, as be is. And then he and the little 
girl are so fatherly and motherly with the baby. Now, 
I say, all this growth of virtue around sin and sorrow ie 
something to be revered. The fact is," he added, "the 
day for separating the tares from the wheat hasn't come 
yet. And it seents to me that the moral discipline of 
bearing with evil, patiently, is a great deal better and 
more ennobling than the most vigorous assertion of one's 
personal rights. I can see a great deal of suffering in that 
family from poor Pat's weakness and wickedness, but I 
also see most noble virtues growing up, even in these chil- 
dren, from the etiaits to which they are put. And as to 



HO J£Y WIFE AND I 

poor Pat himself, he cornea out of his demoa-baptism pen- 
itent and humhle, and more ansious to please than ever. 
It is really affecting to see with what zeal be serves me, 
■when I have brought him through a ' drunk. ' And yet I 
know that it will have to be gone over, and over, and over 
again. Sometimes it eeema to me he is like the earth after 
a thunder-ahower — fresher and clearer than he was before. 
And I am quite of Mrs. Molloy'a mind — there is too 
much good in Pat to have him swept off into the gutter for 
the bad ; and so, as God gives her grace to suffer, let her 
Buffer. And if I can bear one little end of her cross, I 
will. If she does not save him in this life, she '11 save 
Vim from sinking lower in demoniam. She may only keep 
his head above water till he gets past the gates of death, 
and then, perhaps, in the next life, be will appear to be 
saved by just that much which she baa done in keeping 
him up." 

Bolton spoke with an intense earnestness, and a sad and 
solemn tone, as if he were shaken and almost convulsed by 
some deep, internal feeling. For some momenta there was 
a silence between us, — the silence of a great uDuttered 
emotion. At last he drew a long breath, and said, "Well, 
Hal, what was it yoii wanted to talk about 1 " 

"Oh," said I, "I have a letter from a friend of mine 
that I wanted to show you, to see whether you could do 
anything," and I gave him Caroline's letter. 

He sat down under the gaslight to read it. The sight 
of the handwriting seemed to affect him at once. His 
large dark eyes flashed over the letter, and he turned it 
quickly, and looked at the signature; a most unutterable 
expression passed over his face, like that of a man who is 
in danger of giving way to some violent emotion ; and then, 
apparently by a great effort of self- constraint, he set him- 
aelf carefully to reading the letter. He read it over two 
Di three times, folded it up, and handed it back to me 



COUSIN CABOLINK AGAIH 



291 



irithoiit any remark, and then sat leaning torward on the 
table with hia face shaded with hia hand. 

"My cousin is a moat uncommon character," I said; 
"and, as you will observe by this letter, has a good deal 
of ability as a writer." 

"I am acquainted with her," he said briefly, making a 
aiiddeii movement with his hand. 

"Indeedl Where did you know her? " 

"Years ago," he said briefly. "I taught the Academy 
in her village, and she was one of my acholais, I know 
the character of her mind." 

There was a dry brevity in all this, of a man who is 
afraid that he shall express more than he means to. 

Said I, " I Rhowed this letter to you because I thought 
you had more influence in the press than I have; and if 
you are acquainted with her, go much the better, as you 
can judge whether she can gain any employment here 
which would make it worth her while to come and try. I 
have always had an impression that she had very fine men- 
tal powers. " 

"There is no doubt about that," he said hurriedly. 
"She is an exceptional woman." 

He rose np, and took the letter from me. "If you will 
allow me to retain this awhile," he said, "I will see what 
I can do; but just now I have some writing to finish. I 
will speak to you about it to-morrow," 

That evening I introduced the subject to my frieud, Ida 
Van Arsdel, and gave her a sketch of Caroline's life his- 
tory. She entered into it with the warmest interest, and 
was enthusiastic in her desire that the plan might succeed, 

"I hope that she will come to New York," she said, 
"bo that we can make her acquaintance. Don't, pray, fail 
to let me know, Mr. Henderson, if she should be hsze, 
that I may call on her." 



i 




Tee next afternoon Jim and I kept ouf appointment 
with the Van Arsdela. We found one of the parlors trans- 
formed to a perfect bower of Horal decorationa. Stars and 
iFreaths and crosses and crowns were either just finished or 
in process of rapid construction under fairy fingers. When. 
I came in, Eva and Alice were busy on a gigantic cross, to 
be made entirely of lilies of the valley, of vfhich some 
bushels were lying around on the carpet, Ida had joined 
the service, and was kneeling on the floor tying up the 
flowers in hunches to offer them to Eva. 

" You see, Mr, Henderson, the difference between mod- 
eon religion and the primitive Christians," she said. 
"Their cross was rough wood and hard nails; ours is lilies 
and roses made up in fashionable drawing-rooms." 

"I'm afraid," said Eva, "our crown may prove macli 
of the same material ! " 

"I sometimes wonder," said Ida, "whether all the 
money spent for flowers at Easter could not better be spent 
in some mode of relieving the poor," 

"Well," said Eva, "I am sorry to bring up such a par- 
allel, but isn't that just the same kind of remark that 
Judas made about the alabaster vase of ointment t " 

"Yes," said I; "what could be more apparently useless 
than a mere perfume, losing itEelf in the air, and vanishing 
entirely I And yet the Saviour justified that lavish expen- 
diture when it was the expression of a heart^feeliiig," 

"But," sold Ida, "don't you think it very difficult to 



i 



EASTER LILIES 29S 

mark the line where these aervicea and offerings to religious 
worship become excessive ) " 

"Of course it is," said I; "but no more difficult on this 
subject than any other." 

"That 'a the great trouble in this life," said Eva. "The 
line between right and wrong seems always so mdefinite, 
like the line between any two colors of the prism — it is 
hard to say just where one ends and another begins." 

"It is the office of common sense," I said, "to get the 
exact right in all such matters — there is a sort of instinct 
in it, " 

"Well, all I have to say about it is," said Eva, "since 
we do spend lavishly and without stint in our houses and 
in our dress for adornment, we ought to do at least as much 
for our religion. I like to see the adornment of a church 
generous, overflowing, as if we gave our very best. As to 
these lilies, I ordered them of an honest gardener, and it 
goes to help support a family that would be poor if it were 
not for these flowers. It is better to support one or two 
families honestly, by buying their flowers for churches, 
than it is to give the money away. So I look on it." 

"Oh, well," said Alice, "there is no end to anything. 
Everything you do tends to something else; and every- 
thing leads to something; and there is never any knowing 
about anything; and so I think it is best just to have as 
good a time as you can, and do everything that is agree- 
able, and make everything just as pretty as it can be. 
And I think it is fun to trim up the cbuieh for Easter. 
There now! And it don't do any harm. And I just like 
to go to the sunrise service, if it does make one sleepy all 
day. What do you say, Mr. Fellows 1 Do you think 
you could go through with the whole of iti " 

"Miss Alice, if you only go you will find me inspired 
with the spirit of a primitive Christian in this respect," 
said Jim, " I shall follow wherever you lead, the way, if 



) late at night, OT ever eo early in the morn- 
ing." 

"And, Mr. Henderson," said she, "may we depend on 
you, too ) " 

"By all mcanB," eaid I, as I sat industriously gathering 
up the lilies into Lunches and tying them. 

"Mr. Hendei'sou is in a hopeful way," said Eva. "I 
think we may have him in the true Church some of these 

"I am afraid," eaid Ida, "that Mr. Henderson, having 
seen you only in Lent, won't be able to keep track of you 
vhen the Eastei rejoicings begin and the parties recom- 
mence." 

" Oh, dear me 1 " said Eva, with a sort of shudder. " To 
think of that horrid wedding ! " 

"That 's just like Eva," said Alice. "She 'a been, and 
been, and been to these things till she 's tired out with 
them ; whereas, I am just come out, and I like them, and 
want more of them. I dun't think they are horrid at all, 
I am perfectly delighted about that Elmore wedding. One 
will see there nil the new things, and all the stunning 
things, nnd all the latest devices from Paris. I was in at 
Tullegig's the other day, and you never saw such a sight 
as her rooms are ! Somebody said it looked as if rainbows 
had been broken to pieces and thrown all round. She 
showed me all the different costumes that she was making 
up for the various parties. You know there are to be 
seven bridesmaids, and each of tliem is to wear a differ- 
ent color. Madame thmka 'C'est si gentH.' Then, yon 
know, they are making such grand preparations up at that 
chateau of theirs. The whole garden is to be roofed in 
and made a ballroom of. I think it will be gorgeous. I 
Bay, Mr. Fellows, if yon and Mr. Henderson would like 
it, I know I could manage cards for you." 

Jim assented heartily for both of us; and I added that 



EASTEE LILIES 
I should like to see the affair; for I had n 



of that sort of thing to ti 



e away the novelty. 

After tea we all sallied out to the church with o 
phiea. We went in two carriagea, for the better a 
dation of these, and had a busy time disembarking at the 
church and carrying them in. Here we met a large com- 
mittee of co-workera, and the scene of real businesa com- 
menced. Jim and I worked heroically under the direction 
of our fair Buparinteadents. By midnight the church was 
a bower of fragrance and beauty. The chaacel aeeined a 
perfect bed of lilies, out of which rose the great white 
cross, shedding perfume upoa the air. The baptismal font 
was covered with a closely woven mosaic of fragrant vio- 
lets, and in each panel appeared an alternate red or white 
cross formed of flowers. The font was filled with a tall 
bouquet of white saint 's-lUies, such as gardeners force for 
Easter. 

Eva and I worked side by side this evening, and never 
had I seemed to know her more intimately, The fact is, 
among other dangerous situations to a young man's heait, 
none may be mentioned more seductive than to be in a 
church twining flowera and sorting crosaea and emblems in 
the still holy hours of the night. One'a head gets, some- 
how, bewildered; all worldly boundariea of cold prudence 
fade away; and one aeems to be lifted up to some other 
kind of land where those that are congenial never part from 
each other. So I felt when, our work being all done, I 
retired with Eva to the shadow of a distant pew to survey 
the whole result. We had turned on the gaslight to show 
OUT work, and its beams, falling on thousands of these 
white lily-bells and on all the sacred emblems, shed a sort 
of chastened light, Again, somehow, as if it had been a 
rose-leaf floating down from heaven, I found that little 
hand in mine; and we spoke low to each other, in whis- 
pers, of how good and hoW pleasant it was to be there, and 



to unite in such service and work — words that meant far 
mote than tLey seemed to say. Once, in the course of the 
evening, I saw her little glove where it had fallen into a 
neat of cast-off flowers, and, aa no one was looking, I 
seized upon it as a relic, and appropriated it to my own 
sacred memories. Nor would I surrender it, though after- 
ward I heard her making pathetic inquiries for it. Late 
at night I went home to think and dream, and woke with 
the first dim gray of morning, thinking of my appointment 
to meet her at the church. 

It is a charming thing to go out in the fresh calm morn- 
ing before any one is stirring. The hella for early service 
were dropping llieir notes here anil there, down through 
the air, aa if angela were calling men to awake and remem- 
ber that great event which happened so silently and bo un- 
regarded, many, many years ago. I thought aa I walked 
through the dim streets and saw here and there an early 
worshiper, Frayer-Book in band, stealing along, of the 
lonely women who, years ago, in Jerusalem, sought the 
sepulchre to see where they had laid Him. 

Little twittering sparrows filled the ivy on the outside 
of the church and made it vibrate with their chirpings. 
There was the promise in the brightening skies of a glori- 
ous sunrise. I stood waiting awhile, quite alone, till one 
by one the bands of youths and maidens came from differ- 
ent directions. 

I bad called Jim as I went out, but he, preferring to 
take the utmost latitude for sleep, looked at his watch and 
told me he would take another haK hour before he joined 
us. Eva was there, however, among the very first. The 
girls, she said, were coming. We went into the dim 
church together and eat ourselves down in the shady soli- 
tude of one of the slips, waiting for the morning light to 
pour through the painted windows. We said nothing to 
each other) but the silence was sociable and not blank. 



EASTER LILIES 



297 



i 



There are times in life when silence between two friends is 
better than speech; for they know each other hy intuition. 
Gradually the church filled with worshipers; and as the 
rising aun streamed through the painted windows aad 
touched all the lilies with brightoesa, a choir of children 
in the iirgan-loft broke forth into carola like so many in- 
visible birds. And then, the old chant: — 

" Ubriat, being raised from tbBdead, dieth ao more," 

aeemed to thrill every heart. 

After the service canio a general shaking of hands and 
greetings from neighbors and friends, as everybody walked 
round examining the decorations. 

"Now, Mr. Henderson," said Eva, as she stood with 
me surveying this scene, "is not a Church which preserves 
all these historical memorials a most lovely one 1 Ought 
we not thus to cherish the memory of that greatest event 
that ever happened in this world I And how beautiftil it 
is to bring up children year after year hy festivals like 
these, to mark off their life in acts of remembrance," 

"Yon speak truly," I said, sharing her enthusiasm. "I 
could wish the Church of all good people had never ceased 
to keep Easter; indeed, they who do disregard it seem to 
me a cold minority out of the great fellowship, I think it 
is fortunate that the Romish and the Episcopal churches are 
bringing us, descendants of the Puritans, back to those primi- 
tive cuatoma. I,forone, comeback willingly and joyfully." 

[Ey« V«n Andel lo Isabel Convera.] 

My darlin'o Belle, — I have been a naughty girl to let 
your letter lie so long. But my darling, it is not true, as 
you there suggest, that the bonds of sisterly affection, 
which bound us in school, are growing weaker, and that I 
no longer trust you as a confidential friend. Believe me, 
the day will never come, dearest Belle, when I shall cease 
to unfold to you every innermost feeling. 



And now to come to the point about "tbat Mr. Hender- 
Bon." Indeed, my love, your cautions are greatly mie- 
taken. It jb true that, much to my eurpriae, he has taken 
a fancy to visit quite intimately at our house, and hae made 
himself a general favorite in the family. Mamma, and 
Aunt Maria, and all the girts like him so much. But, 
then, you must know he is generally set down as Ida's 
admirer. At all events, Ida and he are extremely good 
friends ; and when he calls here he generally spends the 
largest part of the evening in her sanctum ; and they have 
most edifying conversations on all the approved modem 
topics — the Darw-inian theory. Woman's Rights, and every- 
thing else you can think of. One thing I admit is a little 
peculiar — he notices everything that' / say in conversation 
— I must own. I never saw such an observing creature. 
For example, the first evening he was at our house, I just 
accidentally dropped before him the remark that I waa 
going to early morning services in Lent, and would you 
believe it I — the next morning be was there, too, and 
walked home with me. I was the more astonished because 
he does not belong to the Church — so one would not ex- 
pect it, you know. He is a member of the Bethany Church 
himself, but he seems delighted with our services, and 
talks about them beautifully — as well as our rector could. 
I really wish you could have heard himl He seems to 
have such an earnest, thoughtful mind ; and what I like 
in him is, that he never flatters, and talks that matter-of- 
course complimentary nonsense that some men think is the 
thing to be talked to Indies; neither has he that way of 
talking down to one that superior men sometimes have 
when they are talking with us girls. I read somewhere 
this sentiment — that we may know the opinion people 
have of us by the kind of conversation they address to 1I8: 
and if this is so I ought to be flattered by the way Mr. 
Henderson talks to me; for I think he shows quite aa 



EASTER LILIES 



299 



much anxiety to find out my opinion on all aubjecta as he 
doea Ida's, You will, perhaps, think it rather peculiar if 
I tell you that ever since that first morning he has heen as 
eonatant at the morning services ae I have, and always 
walks home with me. In this way we really are getting 
quite intimately acquainted. Now, Belle, don't put on 
that knowing look of yours, and intimate that there is any- 
thing yarticM/dr in all this, for there is not. I do assure 
yon there is not a bit of nonsense in it. You would be 
perfectly astonished to hear how gravely and philosophi- 
cally we talk. We moralize and philosophize, and as Jim 
Pellows would say, "come the high moral dodge" in a 
way that would astonish you. 

And yet, Belle, they wrong us who are called fashion- 
able girls when they take for granted that we are not 
capable of thinking seriously, and that we prefer those 
whose conversation' consists only of flattery and nonsense. 
It is mainly because I feel that Mr. Henderson has deep, 
seriouB purposes in life, and because he appreciates and 
addresses himself to the deepest part of my nature, that hia 
friendship is so valuable to me. I say friendship ad- 
visedly, dear Belle, because I insist upon it that there can 
he friendship, pure and simple, between a gentleman and 
a lady; in our case there is "only this and nothing more." 

How very teasing and provoking it is that there cannot 
be this friendship without observation and comment ! Now 
I am very careful to avoid any outward appearance of spe- 
cial intimacy that might make talk, and he appears to be 
very careful also. After the first day at morning service 
he did not join me immediately on going out of church, 
but went out at another door and joined me at the next 
comer. I was so thankful for it, for old Mrs. Eyelett was 
there with her sharp eyes, and I know hy experience that 
though she is a pillar of the Church she finds abundance of 
leisure from her devotions to watch all the lambs of the 



300 



MY WIFE ASD I 



flock ; and I am one that everybody seems to keep specially 
in mind as proper to be looked after. If I only apeak to, 
or look at, or walk with the same peraou more than once, 
the airy tongues of rumor are busy engaging and marrying 
me. Isn't it horrid? I would not have old Mrs. Eyelett 
get anything of this sort into her head for the world; it 'e 
so disagreeable to have Euch a thing get to a gentleman's 
hearing when he knows there is no truth in it; and the 
world Iios condescended to interest itself so much in my 
fortunes that it seems dangerous for anybody to be more 
than civil without being set down as an aspirant. 

The only comfort there is in being persistently reported 
engaged to Mr. Sydney ia that it serves to keep off other 
reports, and I sometimes think of the old fable of the fox 
who would not have the present swarm of flies driven off 
lest there should come a new one in its place. How I 
wish people would let one's private affairs alone I Hero 
1 must break off, for there is company downstairs. 



I have let this thing lie some days 
there has been so much going and con 
away. Mr. H. has been at our house 
made a discovery ahout hii 



dear Belle, because 
iug time has flitted 
1 good deal. I have 
s a beautiful cousin 



Hei^l 



that he thinks everything of — 
she is a very superior woman, 
your suggestions are, Belle. 



"Cousin Caroline" — and 
So you see how silly all 
■■or aught I know he may 
this Cousin Caroline. I believe she is com- 
ing to New York, and I am just wild to see her. You 
know I want to see if I shall like her. She must be just 
the thing for him; and I hope I shall like her. Ida thinks 
she shall. Aunt Maria, who wants to portion ofi" the fate 
of mortals, has made up her mind that Mr. H. must be an 
admirer of Ida'sj and, in shnrL that they are to be for each 
other. 




EASTER LILIES 301 

Ida looks down on all this sort o£ thing with her placid 
■uperiority. She lias a perfect contempt for it, so very 
perfect that it is quiet. She does not even trouble herseli 
to express it. Ida likes Mr. H. very much, and has a 
straightforward, open, honest friendship with him, and 
doesn't trouble her head a bit what people may say. 

Salurdi; Morning. 

We are all busy now about Easter decorations. Wo 
have ordered no end of flowers, and are going into adorn- 
nients on a great scale, "We press all hands in that we 
can get, Mr. Henderson and Jim Fellows are coming to- 
night to tea to help ua carry our things to church and get 
them up. 

Hon day Morning. 

I am 80 tired. We were up nearly all night Saturday, 
and then at the sunrise service Easter morning, and ser- 
vices all day. Beautiful I Lovely as they could be I But 
if one has a good time in this world one must pay for it 
— and I'am all tired out. 

Mr. Henderson was with ua through the whole affair. 
One thing seemed to me quite strange. I dropped my 
glove among some flowers while I was busy putting up a 
wreath of lilies, and I saw him through a bower of hem- 
lock-trees walk up to the spot, and slyly confiscate the 
article. In a moment I came back, and said, "I dropped 
my glove here. Where can it be! " The wretched crea- 
ture helped me search for it with every appearance of in- 
terest, but never offered to restore the stolen goods. It 
was all so quiet — so private! You know, gentlemen often 
pretend, as a matter of gallantry, that they want your 
glove, or a ribbon, or some such memento; but this was all 
80 secret. He evidently thinks I don't know it; and, 
Belle — what should you think about it 1 

Eta. 



CHAPTER XXVII 



ENCHANTMENT AND DISENCHANTMENT 

During a month after Easter I waa, bo to apeak, i^^" 
state of mental somnambulism, seeing the visible things of 
this mortiil life through an enchanted medium, in which 
old, proHaic, bustling New York, with ita dry drudgerieB 
and. imiiiterestmg details, became suddenly vivified and 
glorified; juat as when Bome rosy sunset Hoods with light 
the matter-of-fact architecture of Feinting- House Square, 
and etherealizee every line, and guides ever; detail, and 
heightens every bit of color, till it all seems picturesque 
and beautiful. 

I did not know what was the matter with me, but I felt 
somehow as if I had taken the elixir of life and was breath- 
ing the air of an immortal youth. Whenever I sat down 
to write I found my inspiration. I no longer felt myself 
alone ia my thoughts and speculations ; I wrote to another 
mind, a mind that I felt would recognize mine; and then 
I carried what I had written, and read it to Ida Van Arsdel 
for her criticisms. Ida was a capital critic, and had gra- 
ciously expressed her willingness and desire to aid me in 
this way, to any extent But was it Ida who was my in- 
spiration t 

Sitting by, bent over her embroidery, or coming in acci- 
dentally and sitting down to listen, was Eva; full of 
thought, full of inquiry ; sometimes gay and airy, some- 
times captious and controverBial — always suggestive and 
inspiring. From these readings grew talks protracted and 
oonfideatial, on all manner of subjeetB; and each talk waa 



enchahthent Aim disehchanthent 80S 

the happy parent of more talks, till it seemed that there 
was growing up an endless aeriea of occasions for our hav- 
ing long and exciting interviews; (or what was aaid yes- 
terday, in the reflections and fancies of the night following, 
immediately blossomed out into queries and consequences 
and inferences on both sides, which it was immediately and 
pressingly oecessary that we should meet to compare and 
B^juBt. Now, when two people are in this state of mind, 
it is surprising what a Dumber of providential incidents are 
always bringing them together. It was perfectly askjnish- 
ing to us both to find how many purely accidental inter- 
views wo had. If I went out for a walk, I was sure, first 
or last, to meet her. To be sure, I took to walking very 
much in streets and squares where I had observed she 
might be expected to appear; but that did not make the 
matter seem to me the less unpremeditated. 

I had been in the habit of taking a daily constitutional 
stroll in Central Park, and the Van Arsdels were in the 
habit of driving there at orthodox fashionable hours. In 
time, it seemed to happen that this afternoon stroll of mine 
always brought forth the happy fruit of a pleasant Inter- 
view. There was no labyrinth or bower or summer- house, 
no dingle or bosky dell, so retired that I did not fin<l it 
occasionally haunted by the presence of this dryad. True 
she was not there alone — sometimes with Ida, sometimes 
with Alice, or with a lively bevy of friends; but it made 
no difference with whom so long as she was there. 

The many sins of omission and commiB«ion of which the 
City Fathers of New York are accused are, I think, won- 
derfully redeemed and covered by the beauties of the pro- 
vision for humanity which they have made in Central Park. 
Having seen every park in the world, I am not ashamed 
to glorify our own, aa providing as much beauty and cheap 
pleasure as can anywhere be found under the sua. 

Especially ought all lovers par excellenee to crown the 



804 

projectors and executorB of this Park with unfading wreathd 
of olive and myrtle. It is so evidently adapted to all the 
purposes of falling in love and keeping in love that the 
only wonder is that any one can remain a bachelor in pre- 
sence of such advantages and privileges! There is all the 
peacefulnees, all tiie seclusion, all the innocent wildness 
of a country Arcadia, given for the price of a five cents' 
ride in the cars to any citizen who choosee to be made 
moral and innocent. 

The Central Park is an immortal poem, forever address- 
ing itself to the eye and ear in the whirl and bubble of 
that hot and bewildered city. It is a Wordsworth immor- 
talized and made permanent, preaching to the citizena. 



.ch you 



Certainly during this one season of my life I did 
justice to the beauties of Central Park. There wa 
nook or corner where wild flowers unfolded, where 
stemmed birches leaned over still waters, or ivies clambered 
over grottoed rocks, which I did not explore ; and when in 
the winding walks of "the Bamhie " I caught distant sight 
of a white drapery, or heard through budding thickets the 
flilvery sounds of laughing and talking, I knew I was com- 
ing on one of those pleasant surprises for which the Park 
grounds are so nicely arranged. 

Sometimes Eva would come with a carriage full of chil- 
dren, and with the gay little fairies would pass a sunny 
afternoon, swinging them, watching them riding in the 
little goat-carriages, or otherwise presiding over their gaye- 
ties. We had, under these circumstances, all the advantage 
of a tete-a-tete without any of the responsibility of seeking 
or prolonging it. In fact, the presence of others was a 
mIvo to my conscience, and to public appearance, for, look- 



bite- 



BSCHANTMENT AlfD DISBNCHANTMENT 



806 



ing on Eva as engaged to another, I was very eatefiil not 
to go over a certain line of appearances in my relations to 
her. My reason told me that I waa upon dangerous 
ground for my own peace, but I quieted reason, as young 
men in my circumBtancea generally do, by the beet of argu- 
ments. 

I said to myself that, "No matter if she were engaged, 
why shouldn't I worship at her shrine, and cherish her 
image as Dante did that of Beatrice, and Tasso that of 
Eleanora d' Eate ) " and eo on. 

"To be sure," I reflected, "this thing can never come to 
anything; of course she never can be anything to you more 
than a star in the heavens. But," I said in reply, "she is 
mine to worship and adore with the worship that we give 
to all beautiful things. She is mine as are fair flowers, 
and the blue akies, and the bright sunshine, which cheer 
and inspire." 

I was conscious that I had in my own most sacred recep- 
tacle at home a little fairy glove that she had dropped, to 
which I had no claim; but I said to myseK, "When a 
leaf falls from the rose, who shall say that I shall not 
gather it up ? " So, too, I had one of those wonderful, use- 
less little bits of fairy gossamer, which Eve's daughters call 
a "pocket-handkerchief." I had yet so little sense of sin 
that I stole that too, kept the precious theft folded in my 
Prayer-Book, and thought site would never know it. I h&- 
gan to understand the efficacy that is ascribed to holy relics, 
for it seemed to me that if ever any deadly trouble or trial 
should come upon me, I would lay these little things upon 
my heart, and they would comfort me. 

And yet, all this while, I solemnly told myself I was 
dot in love, — oh, no, not in the least. This was friend- 
ship — the very condensed, distilled essence of friendship, 
that and nothing more. To bo sure, it was friendship set 
to a heroic key — friendship of a rare quality. I longed 



MT ■WTFB AND I 

to do something for her, and often thought how glad I 
would be to give my life for her. Having a very active 
imagination, BoraetimeK as I lay awake at night I perpe- 
trated all Borts of confusions in the city of New York, for 
the sdie purpose of giving myself an opportunity to do 
eomething for her. I aet fire to the Van Arsdel manainn 
several times, in different ways, and, rushing in, bore her 
through the flames. I inaugurated a horrible plot against 
the life of her father, and rushing in at the critical mo- 
ment, delivered the old gentleman that I might revel in 
her delight. I became suddenly a millionaire hy the death 
of a supposititious uncle in the East Indies, and immedi- 
ately proceeded to lay all my treasures at her feet. 

Aa for Mr. Wat Sydney, it is incredible the resignation 
with which I saw him shipwrecked, upset in stages, 
crushed in railroad accidents, while I appeared on the scene 
as the consoling friend ; not that I had, of course, any pur- 
pose of causing such catastrophes, but there was a degree 
iif resignation attending the view of them that was sooth- 
ing. I bad in my heart a perfect certainty that Sydney 
was unworthy of her, but of course racks and thumbscrews 
thould not draw from me the slightest intimation of the 
kind in her presence. 

So matters went on for some weeks. But sometimes it 
happens, when a young fellow has long wandered in a beau- 
tiful dream of this kind, a sudden and harsh light of reality 
and of common-sense, every-day life is thrown upon him 
in an unforeseen moment; and this moment at last arrived 
tjr me. 

One evening, when I dropped in for a call at the Van 
Arsdel mansion, the young ladies were all out at a concert, 
hut Mrs. Van Arsdel was at home, and for some reason 
unusually hi and and motherly, 

"My dear Mr, Henderson," she said, "it is rather hard 
on you to be obliged to accept an old woman like i 



ENOHANTMEKT AND DISEKCHANTMEKT 



307 



a aubatitute for youth and beauty; but really, I am not 
sorry, on the whole, that the girle are out, for I would like 
a little chance of having a free, confidential talk with you. 
Your relations with us have been so intimate and kindly, 
I fee), you know, quite aa if you were one of us." 

I replied, of course, that " I was extremely flattered and 
gratified hy her kindness," and assured her with effusion, 
and, if I mistake not, with tears in my eyes, that "she had 
made me forget that I was a stranger in H^ew York, and 
that I should always cherish the most undying recollection 
of the kindness that I had received in her family and of 
the pleasant hours I had spent there." 

"Ah, yes, indeed," she said, "Mr. Henderson, it is 
feasant to me to think that you feel so. I like to give 
young men a home feeling. But after all," she continued, 
"one feels a little pensive once iu a while, in thinking that 
one cannot always keep the home circle unbroken. Indeed, 
I never could see how some mothers could seem to rejoice 
as they do in the engagement of their daughters. There 
is Mrs. Elmore, now, her feelings are perfectly inexplicable 



I assured her that I was quite of her way of thinking, 
and agreed with her perfectly. 

"Now," she said, "as the time comes on when I begin 
to think of parting with Eva, though to the very best man 
in the world, do you know, Mr. Henderson, it really makes 



I began at this moment to find the drift of the conversa- 
tion becoming very embarrassing and disagreeable to me, 
but I mustered my energies to keep up my share in it with 
a becoming degree of interest. 

"I am to understand, then," said I, forcing a smile, 
"that Misa Eva's engagement with Jlr. Sydney is a settled 
fact!" 

"Well, virtually so," she replied. "Eva is averse to 



808 HT yfWK AKD I 

the publicity of public announcements; but — you know 
how it is, Mr. Henderson, there are rektioa^ which amount 
to the same thing as an engagement," Here Mrs. Van 
Arsdei leaned back on the sofa and drew a letter from her 
pocket, while the words of my part of the conversation did 
not seem to be forthcoming. I sat in embarraBsed silence. 

"The fact is, Mr. HendeiBoa," she said, settling the 
diamonds and emeralds on her white, shapely fingers, "I 
have received a letter to-day from Mr. Sydney, — he is a 
noble fellow," ahe added, with empressetnent. 

I sacretly wished the noble fellow at Kamtschatka, but 
I eaid, in sympathetic tones, "Ah, indeed I" as if waiting 
for the farther communication which I perceived she was 
determined to bestow on me. 

"Yes," she said, "he is coming to Kew York in a short 
time, and then, I suppose, there is no doubt that all will 
be finally arranged. I confess to you I have the weakness 
to feel a little depressed about it. Did you ever read Jean 
Ingelow's ' Songs of Seven,' Mr. Henderson! I think she 
touches so beautifully on the trials of mothers in giving 
up their daughters." 

I said, "I only trust that Mr. Sydney is in some degree 
worthy of Miss Van Arsdei; though," I added with 
warmth, "no man can he wholly so." 

"Eva is a good girl," said Mrs. Van Arsdei, "and I 
must confess that the parting from her will be the greatest 
trial of my life. But I thought I would let you know how 
matters stood, because of the very great confidence which 
we feel in you." 

I found presence of mind to acknowledge politely my 
sense of the honor conferred. Mrs. Van Arsdei continued 
playing prettily with her rings. 

" One thing more perhaps 1 ought to say, Mr. Hender- 
son ; while your intimacy in our family is and has been quite 
what I desire, yet you know people are so absurd, and will 



ENCHANTIIKNT AND DISENCHANTMENT 



309 



e&y such absurd things, that it might not be out of the wsy 

to suggest a tittle caution; jou know one wouldn't want 
to give rise to any reports that might be unpleasant — any- 
thing, you know, that might reach Mr. Sydney's ear — 
you understand me." 

"My dear Mrs. Van Aradel, is it poesible tliat anything 
has been said 1 " 

"Now, now, don't agitata yourself, Mr. Henderson; I 
know what you are going to say — no, nothing of the kind. 
But you know that we elderly people, who know the world 
and just what stupid and unreasonable things people are 
always saying, sometimes have to give you young folks 
just the slightest little caution. Your conduct in this 
family has been all that is honorable, and gentlemanly, 
and unexceptionable, Mr. Henderson, and such as would 
lead us to repose the most perfect confidence in you. In 
fact, I beg you to consider this communication with regard 
to Eva's connection with Mr. Sydney as quite in confi- 
dence. " 

"I certainly shall do so," said I, rising to take my 
leave with much the same sort of eagerness with which 
one rises from a dentist's chair, after having his nerves 
picked at. As at this moment the voices of the returning 
party broke up our interview, I immediately arose, and 
excusing myself with the plea of an article to finish, left 
the house and walked home in a state of mind as disagree- 
able as my worst enemy could have wished. Like ail deli- 
cate advisers who are extremely fearful of hurting youi_ 
feelings, Mrs. Van Arsdel had told me nothing definite, 
and yet hod said enough to make me eupremely uncomfort- 
able. What did she mean, and how much did she mean 1 
Had there been reports T Was this to be received as an 
intimation from Eva herself 1 Had she discovered the state 
of my feelings, and was she, through her mother, warning 
me of my danger 1 



MY WIFE AND I 

All my little romance seemed diBenchanted. These illu- 
sions of love are like the legends of hidden treaaurea guarded 
hy watchful spirits which disappear from you if you speak 
a word; or like an enchanting dream, which vanishee if you 
start and open your eyes, I tossed to and fro restlessly all 
night, and resolved to do precisely the most irrational 
thing that I could have done under the circumstances, and 
that was to give up going to the Van Arsdel house, and to 
see Eva no more. 

The nest morning, however, showed me that I could not 
make so striking a change in my habits without subjecting 
myself to Jim Fellows'a remarks and inquiry. I resolved 
on a course of gradual emancipation and detachment. 



[Eva Van Andel 



™™.] 



My deaeest Belle, — Since I wrote to you last there 
Lave been the strangest changes. I scarcely know what to 
think. You remember I told you all about Easter Eve, 
and a certain person's appearance, and about the stolen 
glove and all that. Your theory of accounting for all this 
was precisely mine; in fact, 1 could think of no other. 
And, Belle, if I could only see you T could tell you of a 
thousand little things that make me certain that be cares 
for me more than in the way of mere friendship. I 
thought I could not be mistaken in that. There has been 
scarcely a day since our acquaintance began when I have 
not in some way seen him or heard from him; you know 
all those early servicea, when he was as conatant aa the 
morning, and always walked home with me ; then, he and 
Jim Fellows always spend at least one evening in a week 
at our house, and there are no end of accidental meetings. 
For example, when we take our afternoon drives at Central 
Park we aie sure to see them sitting on the benches watch- 
ing us go by, and it came to be quite a regular thing when 
we atopped the carriage at the terrace and got out to walk 



ENCHANTMENT AND DISENCHANTMENT 



311 



to find them there, and then Alice would go off with Jim 
FellowB, and Mr. H. and I would stroll up and down 
among the lilac hedges and in all those lovely little nooks 
and dells that are so charming. I 'm quite sure I never 
explored the treasures of the Park as I have this spring. 
We have ramhled everywhere — up hill and down dale — 
it certainly is the loveliest and most complete imitation of 
wild nature that ever art perfected. One could fancy one's 
self deep in the country in some parts of it; far from all 
the rush and whirl and frivolity of this great, hot, dizzy 
New York. You may imagine that with all thia we have 
had opportunity to become very intimate. He has told mo 
all atuut himself, all the history of his life, all ahout hia 
mother, and his home; it seems hardly' possible that one 
friend could speak more unreservedly to another, and I, dear 
Belle, have found myself speaking with equal frankness to 
him. We linow each other ao perfectly that there has for 
a long time seemed to he only a thiii impalpable cobweb 
barrier between us ; hut you. know, Belle, that airy, filmy 
barrier ia something that one would not by a look or a 
word disturb. For weeks I have felt every day that surely 
the next time we meet all this must come to a crisis. 
That be would say in words what he says in looks — in 
involuntary actions —.what, in fact, I am perfectly sure of. 
Till he speaks I must be guarded. I must bold myself 
back from showing him the kindly interest I really feel. 
For I am proud, as yon know, Belle, and have always 
held the liberty of my heart aa a. aacred treasure. I have 
always felt a aecret triumph in the consciousness that I did 
not care for anybody, and that my happiness was wholly in 
my own hands, and I mean to keep it so. Our friendship 
is a pleasant thing enough, but I am not going to let it 
become too necessary, you understand. It isn't that I 
care bo very much, but my curiosity is really excited to 
know juat what the real state of the case is; one wants to 



inveetigftto interesting phenomena, you know. Wher 
aav that little glove movement on Easter Eve I confess I 
thought tiie game all in my own hands, and that I could 
quietly wait to say " checkmate " in due form and due time ; 
but, after all, nothing came of it; that is, nothing decisive; 
and I confess I did n't know what to think. Sometimes I 
have fancied aome obstacle or entanglement or commitment 
with Bome other woman — this Cousin Caroline perhaps — 
but he talks about her to me in the most open and com- 
poeed manner. Sometimes I fancy he has heard the report 
of my engagement to Sydney. If he has, why does n't he 
ask ma about it] I have no objection to telling him, but 
I certainly shall not open the Buhject myself. Perhaps, 
as Ida thinks, he is proud and poor, and not willing to be 
a suitor to a rich young good- for- nothing. Well, that 
can't he helped, he muKt be a suitor if he wins me, for I 
sha'n't be; he must ask me, for I certainly 'sha'u't ask 
him, that's settled. If he would "ask me pretty," now, 
who knows what nice things he might hear? I would tell 
him, perhaps, how much more ono true noble heart is 
worth in my eyes than all that Wat Sydney has to give. 
Sometimes I am quite provoked with him that he should 
look so much, and yet say no more, and I feel a naughty, 
wicked inclination to flirt with somebody else just to make 
him open those grands yeux of his a little wider and to a 
little better purpose. Sometimes I liegin to feel a trifla 
vindictive and as if I should like to give him a touch of 
the claw. The claw, my dear, the little pearly claw that 
we women keep in reserve in the patte de velours, oui 
only and most sacred weapon of defense. 

The other night, at Mrs. Cerulean's salon, she was hold- 
ing forth with great effect on woman's right to court men 
— as natural and indefeasible — and I told her that I con- 
sidered our right to be courted far more precious and invio- 
lable. Of course it is ao. The party that makes the pro- 



ENCHAirrMEyT jiyD disenchantment 31S 

posBlB.is the party that must take the risk of refusal, and 
who would wish to do that 1 It puts me out of all patience 
just to think of it. If there is anything that vexes me it 



3 that a man should e 
is at his disposal before 
properly in all due form, 
this before my eyes, evi 
fie shall not feel too sui 



e that a woman's heart 
as asked for it prettily aud 
my dear, I have the fear of 

en in oui most intimate moments. 

;e of me. 

WedneBdsy Evening. 

.'t think what in the world is up 

other has happened to a certain 

relations. For more than 

im. He called with Jim 



My dear Belle, I 
now ; but something 
person that has changed all 
a week I have scarcely aeei 
Fellows on the usual evening, but did not go into Ida's 
room, and hardly came near me, and seemed all in a flutter 
to leave all the time. He was at the great Elmore wed- 
ding, and so was I, but we scarcely spoke all the evening. 
I could see him following all my motions and watching me 
at a distance, but as sure as I came into a room he seemed 
in a perfect flutter to get out of it, and yet no sooner had 
he done so than he secured some position where he could 
observe me at a distance. I was provoked enough, and I 
thought if my lord wanted to observe, 1 'd give him some- 
thing to see, so I flirted with Jerrold Livingstone, whom 
I don't care a copper about, within an inch of his life, and 
I made a special effort to be vastly agreeable to all the 
danglers and mustaches that I usually take delight in 
snubbing, and I could see that he looked quite wretched, 
which was a comfort — but yet he wouldn't come near me 
till just as I was going to leave, when he came to beg I 
would stay longer and declared that he had n't seen any- 
thing of me. It was a little too much! I assumed an 
innocent air and surveyed him de haut en bas and said, 
"Why, dear me, Mr. Henderson, possible that you 've been 
Aeie all this time I Where have you kept yourself t" and 



814 HT WIFE AlfD t 

then I handed my bouquet to Livingatone and swept by 
in triumph; hia last look after me as I went dovrastaire 
was tragical, you may believe. Well, I can't make him 
out, but I don't care. I won't care. He was free to 
come. He shall be free to go; but isn't it vesatious that 
in cases of this kind one cannot put an end to the tragedy 
by a simple common-sense question ? 

One doesn't care so very much, you know, what is the 
matter with these creatures, only one is curious to know 
what upon earth makes them act bo. A man sets up a 
friendship with you, and then looks and acts as if he adored 
you, as if be worshiped the ground you tread on, and then 
ja otf at a tangent with a tragedy air, and you are not 
allowed to say, " My dear sir, why do you behave so 1 why 
do you make such a precious goose of yourself I " 

The fact is, these friendships of women with men are all 
fol-de-rol. The creatures always have an advantage over 
you. They can make every advance and come nearer and 
nearer and really make themselves quite agreeable, not to 
say necessary, and then suddenly change the whole footing 
and one cannot even aak why. One cannot say, as to an- 
other woman, "What ia the matterl what has altered youi 
manner)" She cannot even show that she notices the 
change, without loss of aelf-respect. A woman in friend- 
ship with a man ia made heartless by this very necessity, 
ahc must always hold herself ready to change hands and 
make her chaase to right or left with all suitable indifference 
whenever her partner is ready for another move in the 
cotillion. 

Well, HO be it. I fancy I can do this as well as another. 
I never shall inquire into his motives. I 'm sorry for him, 
too, for be looked quite haggard and unhappy. Well, 
it 's his own fault ; for if he would only be open with me 
he 'd find it to hie advantage — perhaps. 

You are quite mistaken, dear, in what you have heard 



ENCHASTMENT AND DISETTCHANTMENT 



319 



about hia belongiDg to that radical party of strange crea- 
turea who rant and rnge about progress in our times. 
Like al! generous, magnanimous men, who are conscious of 
stiength, he eympathlzea with the weak, and la a champion 
of woman wherever she Is wronged; and certainly Id many 
respects, we must all admit women are wronged by the 
laws and customs of society. But no man could be nicer 
in his sense of feminine delicacy and more averse to asso- 
ciating with bold and unfeminine women than he. I must 
defend him there. I am sure that nothing could be more 
distasteful to him than the language and conduct of many 
of these dreadful fenmle reformers of our day. If I am 
out of sorts with him I must at least do him this justice. 

Yon inquire about Alice and Jim Fellows; my dear, 
there can he nothing there. They are perfectly well 
matched; a pair of flirts, and neither trusts the other an 
inch farther than they can see. Alice has one of those 
characters that lie in layers like the geologic strata that our 
old professor used to show ub. The top layer is all show, 
and display, and ambition ; dig down below that and yon 
find a warm volcanic soil where noble plants might cast 
root. But at present she is all in the upper stratum. She 
must have her run of flirting and fashion and adventure, 
and just now a splendid marri^e is her ideal, hut she is 
capable of a great deal in the depths of her nature. All I 
hope is she will not marry till she has got down into it, 
I but she ia starting under full sail now, coquetting to right 

I and left, making great slaughter. 

I She looked magniliceutly at the wedding and quite out- 

I shone me. She has that superb Spanish style of beauty 

I which promises to wear well and bloom out into more 

I splendor as time goes on, and she has a good heart with 

I aU her nonsense. 

I Well, dear, what a long letter I and must I add to it tho 

I UMUunt of the wedding glories — lists of silver and gold 



tea-aets, and sets of pearle and diamonds! My dear, only 

fancy Tiffany's countere transferred bodily, with cards from 
A,, B., and C., presenting this and that; fancy also the 
young men of your acquaintance ailly-drunk, or stupid- 
diunk in the latter part of the night in the supper-room ; 
fancy, if you can, the bridegroom carried upstairs, because 
be couldn't go up on his own feetl — this is a wedding! 
Never mind ! the bride had three or four sets of diamond 
shoe-buckles, and rubiea and emeralds in the profusion of 
the "Arabian Nights." Well, it will be long before I care 
for such a wedding! I am sick of splendors, sated with 
knickknacks, my doll is stuffed with sawdust, etc., etc., 
but I shall ever be your loving Eva. 

P. S. —My dear — a case of conscience! Would it be 
a Bin to flirt a little with Sydney, just enough to aggravate 
Bomebody elsel Sydney's, you mind, is not a deep heart- 
case. He only wants me because I am hard to catch, and 
have been the fashion. I '11 warrant him against breaking 
his heart for anybody. However, I don't believe I will 
flirt after all — I'll try some other square of the chess- 



The confidential conversation held with me by Mrs, Van 
Arsdei had all the effect on my mental castle-building that 
a sudden blow had on Alnaschar's basket of glassware in 
the Arabian tales. 

Nobody is conscious how far he has been in dreamland 
till he is awakened. I was now fully aroused to the fact 
that I was in love with Eva Van Arsdei, to all intents and 
purposes, ao much in love as made the nourishing and cher- 
ishing of an intimate friendship an impossibility, and only 
B specious cloak for a sort of moral dishonesty. Now I 
might have known this fact in the beginning, and I scolded 
and lectured mysell for my own folly in not confessing it 
to myself before. I had been received by the family as t 



KHOHANTMENT AND DIBENOHANTMENT 



317 



friend. I had been trusted with their chief treasure, with 
the understanding that it was to belong not to me but an- 
other, and there was a species of moral indelicacy to my 
mind in having suffered myseK to become fascinated by 
her as I now felt that I was. But I did not feel adequate 
to congratulating her as the betrothed bride of another 
man; nay, more, when I looked back on the kind of inti- 
mate and confidential relations that had been growing up 
between us, I could not but feel that it was not safe for me 
to continue them. Two natures cannot exactly accord, can- 
not keep time and tune together, without being conscious 
of the fact and without becoming necessary to each other; 
and such relations in their very nature tend to grow absorb- 
ing and exclusive. It was plain to me that if Eva were 
to marry "Wat Sydney I could not with honor and safety 
continue the kind of intimacy we had been so thoughtlessly 
and BO delightfully enjoying for the past few weeks. 

But how to break it off without an explanation, and how 
make that explanation 1 There is a certain reBponsibility 
resting on a man of conscience and honor about accepting 
all that nearness of access and that closeness of intimacy 
which the ignorant innocence of young girls often invites. 
Prom his very nature, from his education, from his posi- 
tion in society, a young man knows more of what the full 
significance and requirements of marriage are to be than 
a young woman can, and he must know the danger of ab- 
sorbing and exclusive intimacy with other than a husband. 
The instincts of every man teach that marriage must be 
engrossing and monopolizing, that it implies a forsaking of 
all others, and a keeping unto one only; and how could 
that be when every taste and feeling, every idiosyncrasy 
and individual peculiarity, made the society of some other 
person more agreeable) 

Without undue personal vanity, a man will surely know 
when there is a special congeniality of nature between him- 



MY WIFE AND I 

■elf and a certain woman, and he is bound in conscience 
and honor to look ahead in all his intimacies and see what 
must be the inevitable result of them according to the laws 
of the human mind. Eecause I had neglected this caution, 
because I had yielded myself blindly to the delicious en- 
chantment of a new enthusiasm, I had now come to a place 
where I knew neither how to advance nor recede. 

I could not drop this intimacy, so dangerous to my peace 
and honor, without risk of offending; to explain was, in 
fact, to Golicit. I might confess all, cast myeelf at her feet 
— but auppoeing she should incline to mercy — and with 
a woman's uuualculatiug disinterestedness accept my love 
in place of wealth and station, what should I then dol 

Had I been possessed of a fortune even half equal to Mr, 
Sydney's; had I, in fact, any settled and assured position 
to offer, I would have avowed my love boldly and suffered 
her to decide. But I had no advantage to stand on. I was 
poor, and had nothing to give but myself; and what man is 
vain enough to think that lie is in himself enough to make 
ap for all that may he wanting in externals 1 Besides this, 
Eva was the daughter of a rich family, and an oifei of 
marriage from me must have appeared to all the world the 
interested proposal of a fortune-hunter. Of what avail 
would it be under such circumstances to plead that I loved 
her for herself alone ? I could fancy the shout of 
loua laughter with which the suggestion would he received 
in the gay world, 

"So verytlionglitfuloflhBfairl 

It showed B true frnternal care. 

Five thousand guineM in h*r purse — 

The fellow might have fancied worse. 

Now, if there was anything that my pride revolted from 

as an impossibility, it was coming as a poor suitor to a 

great rich family. Were I even sure that Eva loved me, 

bow could I do that) Would not all the world say that 

to make use of my access in the family to draw her doTii 



ived 




I 



ENCHANTMENT AND DISENCHANTMENT 319 

from a splendid position in life to poverty and obscurity 
was on my part a dishonorable act) Could I trust myself 
enough to feel that it was justice to her! 

The struggle that a young man has to engage in to se- 
cure a self-supporting position ia of a kind to make him 
keenly alive to material values. Dr. IVanklin said, "If 
you would learn the value of money, try to borrow some." 
I would say rather, Try to earn some, and to live only on 
what you earn. My own hard experience on this subject 
led me to reflect very seriously on the responsibility which 
a man incurs in inducing a woman of refinement and cul- 
ture to look to him as her provider. 

In our advanced state of society there are a thousand 
absolute wants directly created by culture and refinement; 
and whatever may be said about the primary importance of 
personal affection and sympathy as the foundation of a 
happy marriage, it ia undoubtedly true that a certain 
amount of pecuniary ease and security ia necessary as a 
background on which to develop agreeable qualities. A 
man and woman much driven, careworn, and overtaxed 
often have little that is agreeable to show to each other. I 
queried with myself then, whether, as Eva's true friend, 
I should not wish that she might marry a respectable man, 
devoted to her, who could keep her in all that elegance and 
luxury she was so fitted to adorn and enjoy ; and whether, 
if I could do it, I ought to try to put myself in hia place 
in her mind. 

A man who detects himself in an unfortunate passion 
has always the refuge of his life object. To the true man, 
the thing that he hopes to do always offers some compensa- 
tion for the thing he ceases to enjoy. It was fortunate, 
therefore, for me, that just in this crisis of my life my 
friendship with Bolton opened before me the prospect of 
a permanent establishment in connection with the literary 
press of the times. 




"Hehdebson," said BoltoD to me, 
are you engaged on the ' Democracy ' ! " 

"Only for this year," said I. 

"Because," said he, "I have something to propone to 
you which I hope may prove a better thing. Hestermann 
& Co. sent for me yesterday in secret eession. The head 
manager of their whole set of magazines and papers has re- 
signed, and is going to travel in Europe, and they want 
me to take the place," 

"Good! I am heartily glad of it," said I. "I always 
felt that you were aot in the position that you ought to 
have. You will accept, of course. " 

"Whether I accept or not depends on you," he replied. 

"I cannot understand," eaid I. 

"In short, then," said he, "the responsihility is a heavy 
one, and I cannot undertake it without a partner whom I 
can trust as myself — I mean," he added, "whom I can 
trust more than myself." 

"You are a thousand timoB too good," said I. "I 
should like nothing better than such a partnership, but I 
feel oppressed by your good opinion. Are you sure that 
I am the one for youl " v 

"I think I am," said he, "and it is a case where I am 
the best judge; and it offers to you just what you want — 
a stable position, independence to express yourself, and 
a good income, Hestermann & Co. are rich, and i 
enough to know that liberality is the best policy." 



A NEW OPENING 321 

"But," said I, "their offers are made to you, and not 
tome." 

" Well, of course, their acquaintance with me is of old 
standing; but I have spoken to them of you, and I am to 
bring you round to talk with them to-morrow ; but, after 
all, the whole power of arranging is left with me. They 
put a certain sum at my disposal, and I do what I please 
with it. In short," he eaid, smiling, "I hold the living, 
and you are my curate. Well," be added, "of course you 
need time to think matters over; here is paper on which 
I have made a little memorandum of an arrangement be- 
tween us ; take it and dream on it, and let me know to- 
morrow what jou think of it." 

I went to my room and unfolded the agreement, and 
found the terms liberal beyond all my expectations. In 
fact, the income of the principal was awarded to me, and 
that of the subordinate to Bolton. 

I took tbe paper the next evening to Bolton's room. 
"Iiook here, Bolton," said I, "these terms are simply ab- 
surd," 

"How so?" he said, lifting his eyea tranquilly from 
his book. "What 's the matter with theml " 

"Why, you give me all the income." 

"Wait till yon see how I '11 work you," he said, smil- 
ing. "I '11 get it out of you; you see if I don't." 

"But you leave yourself nothing." 

"I have as much as I would have, and that's enough. 
I 'm a literary monk, you know, with no family but Puss 
and Stumpy, poor fellow, and I need the less." 

Stumpy upon this pricked up his ragged ears with an 
expression of lively satisfaction, sat hack on bis haunches, 
and rapped the floor with his forlorn bit of a tail, 

"Poor Stumpy," said Bolton, "you don't know that you 
are the homeliest dog in New York, do youl Well, as 
far as you go, you are perfect goodness. Stumpy, though 
you are no beauty." 



MY -WIPE AKD I 

Upon this high praise Stumpy Beemed eo elated that he 
Btood on hie bind pawe and regted his rough fore feet on 
Bolton's knee, and looked up with eyes of admiration. 

"Man IB the dog's God," said Bolton, "I can't con- 
ceive how any nian can be rude to his dog. A dog," he 
added, fondling hia ragged cur, "why, he 's nothing hut 
organized love — love on four feet, encased in fur, and 
looking piteoualy out at the eyes — love that would die for 
you, yet cannot apeak — that 'b the touching part. Stumpy 
longs tJD speak; hia poor dog's breast heaves with some- 
thing he longB to tell mo and ean't. Don't it. Stumpy 1 " 

As if he understood hia maBter, Stumpy wheezed a dole- 
ful whine, and actual teara stood in his eyes. 

"Well," said Bolton, "Stumpy has beautiful eyea; no- 
body shall deny that — there, there 1 poor fellow, maybe 
on the other shore your rough bark will develop into 
speech ; let 'a hope so. I confesB I 'm of the poor Indian's 
mind, and hope to meet my dog in the hereafter. Why 
should so much love go out in notliing! Yes, Stumpy, 
we'll meet in the resurrection, won't we)" Stumpy 
barked aloud with the greatest animation. 

"Bolton, you ought to be a family man," said I. "Why 
do you take it for granted that you are to he a literary 
monk, and spend your love on doga and cats 1 " 

" You may get married, Hal, and I '11 adopt your chil- 
dren," said Bolton; "that's one reason why I want to es- 
tabliah you. You see, one's dogs will die, and it hreaka 
one's heart. If you had a boy, now, I 'd invest in him." 

"And why can't you invest in a boy of your ownT" 

"Oh, I 'm a predestined old bachelor." 

"No Buch thing," I persisted hardily. "Why do you 
immure yourself in a denT Why won't you go out into 
society I Here, ever since I 've known you, you have been 
in this one cave — a New York hermit; yet if you would 
once begin to go into Boclety, you 'd like it." 



A NEW OPENING 



323 



"You think I haven't tried it; you forget that I am 
some years older than you are," said Bolton, 

"Yon are a good-looking young fellow yet," aaid I, 
"and ought to make the most of yourself. Why should 
you turn all the advantages into my hands, and keep go 
little for yourself ) " 

"It suits me," said Bolton; "I am lazy — I mean to 
get the work out of you." 

"That's all hum," said I; "you know well enough that 
you are not lazy; you take delight in work for work's 

"One reason I am glad of this position," he said, "is 
that it gives me a chance to manage matters a little as I 
want them. For instance, there 's Jim Fellows — I want 
to make something more than a mad Bohemian of that hoy. 
Jim is one of the wild growths of our New York life ; he 
is a creature of the impubes and the senses, and will be 
for good or evil according as others use him." 

"He's capital company," said I, "but he doesn't seem 
to me to have a serious thought on any suhject." 

"And yet," said Bolton, "such is our day and time, 
that Jim is more likely than you or I to get along in the 
world. His cap and bells win favor everywhere, and the 
laugh he raises gives him the privilege of saying anything 
he pleases. For my part, I could n't live without Jim. I 
have a weakness for him. Kothing is so precious to me 
as a laugb, and, wet or dry, I can always get that out of 
Jim. He '11 work in admirably with us." 

"One thing must be said for Jim," said I, "with all his 
keenness he's kind hearted. He never is witty at the 
expense of real trouble. As he says, he goes for the under 
dog in the fight always, and his cheery, frisky, hit-or-mias 
morality does many a kind turn for the unfortunate, while 
he is always ready to help the poor." 

"Jim is not of the sort that is going to do the world's 



MT WIFE AMD 1 

thinking for them," eaid Bolton; "neither will he ever be 
one of the noble army of martyrs for principle. He ia like 
a lively, sympathetic horse that will keep the etep of the 
team he ia harneBsed in, and in the department of lively 
nonsense he 'd do us yeoman service. Nowadays people 
must have truth whipped up to a white froth or they won't 
touch it. Jim is a capital egg-beater." 

"Ybb," said I; "he's like the horse that had the go in 
him ; be '11 run any team that he 'a hameBsed in, and if 
you hold the reins he won't run off the course." 

"Then again," said Bolton, "there 'b your couain; there 
is the editorship of our weekly journal will be just the 
place for her. Ton can write and offer it to her." 

"Pardon me," Baid I maliciously, "since you are ac- 
quainted with the lady, why not write and offer it yourself T 
It would be a good chance to renew your acquaintance." 

Bolton's countenance changed, and he remained a mo- 
ment silent. 

"Henderson," he said, "there are very painful circum- 
stances connected with my acquaintance with your cousin. 
I never wish to meet her, or renew my acquaintance with 
her. Some time I will tell you why," he added. 

The next evening I found on my table the following let- 
ter from Bolton; — 



Dear Hendekhon, — Ton need feel no hesitancy about 
accepting in full every advantage in the position I propose 
to you, since you may find it weighted with disadvantages 
and incumbrances you do not dream of. In short, I shall 
ask of you services for which no money can pay, and till 
I knew you there was no man in the world of whom I had 
dared to ask them. I want a friend, courageous, calm, 
and true, capable of thinking broadly and justly, • 
perioT to ordinary prejudices, who may be to me anotJi 
and in some hours a stronger self. 



L 



A NEW OPENING 325 

I can fancy your surprise at this language, and yet I 
have not read you aright if you are not the one of a thou- 
sand on wham I may rest this hope. 

You often rally me on my lack of enterprise and amhi- 
tion, on my hermit habits. The truth is, Henderson, I 
am a strained and unseaworthy craft, for whom the harbor 
and shore are the aafeat quartera. I have lost trust in 
myself, and dare not put out to sea without feeling the 
strong hand of a friend with me. 

I BUppoae no young fellow ever entered the course of life 
with more self-confidence. I had splendid health, high 
spirits, great power of application, and great social powers. 
I lived freely and carelessly on the abundance of my phy- 
aical resources. I could ride, and row, and wrestle with 
the best. I could lead in all social gayeties, yet keep the 
head of my class, as I did the first two years of my college 
life. It seems hardly fair to us human beings that we 
should be so buoyed up with ignorant hope and confidence 
in the beginning of our life, and that we should be left in 
our ignorance to make mistakes which no after-years can 
retrieve. I thought I was perfectly sure of myself; I 
thought my health and strength were inexhaustible, and 
that I could carry weights that no man else could. The 
drain of my wide-awake exhausting life upon my nervous 
system I made up by the insidious use of stimulauts. I 
was like a, man habitually overdrawing his capital, and 
ignorant to what extent. In my third college year this 
began to tell perceptibly on my nerves. I was losing self- 
control, losing my way in life; I was excitable, irritable, 
impatient of guidance or reproof, and at times horribly 
depressed. I sought refuge from this depression in social 
exhilaration, and having lost control of myself became a 
marked man among the college authorities; in short, I waa 
overtaken in a convivial row, brought under college disci- 
pline, and suspended. 



396 



MY WIFB AKD 1 



It was at this time that I went into your neighborho* 
to study and teach. I found no difficulty in getting tl 
liighcst recomnieiLdationB as to echolarsbip from some of the 
college officers who were for giving me a chance to recover 
myself; and for the rest I was thoroughly sobered and 
determined on a new course. Her© commenced my ac- 
quaintance with your cousin, and there followed a few 
months remembered ever since aa the purest happiness of 
my life, I loved her with all there was in me, — heart, 
Boul, mind, and strength, — with a love which can never 
die. She also loved me, more perhaps than she dared to 
say, for she was young, hardly come to full consciouaneea 
of herself. She was then scarcely sixteen, ignorant of her 
own nature, ignorant of life, and almost frightened at the 
intensity of the feeling which she excited in me, yet she 
loved me. But before we could arrive at anything like a 
calm understanding ber father came between us. He was 
a trustee of the Academy, and a dispute arose between him 
and me in which he treated me with an overbearing haugh- 
tiness which aroused the spirit of opposition in me. I was 
in the right and knew I was, and I defended my course 
before the other trustees in a manner which won them over 
to my way of thinking — a victory which he never forgave. 

Previously to this encounter I had been in the habit of 
visiting in his family quite intimately. Caroline and I 
enjoyed that kind of unwatched freedom which the customs 
of New England allow to young people. I always attended 
her home from the singing- school and the weekly lectures, 
and the evening after my encounter with the trustees I did 
the same. At the door of his house be met us, and as 
Caroline passed in he stopped me, and briefly saying that 
my visits there would no longer be permitted, closed tha 
door in my face. I tried to obtain an interview soon after, 
when he sternly upbraided me as one that had stolon into 
the village and won their confidence on false pretenses, 



A NEW OPEIFING 



327 



L 



adding that if he and the trustees had kno^vu the full hia- 
tory of my college life I should never have been permitted 
to teach ia their viliage or have access to their families. 
It was in vain to attempt a defewae to a man determined to 
take the very worst view of facta which I did not pretend 
to deny. I knew that I had been irreproachable as to my 
record in the school, that I had been faithful in my duties, 
that the majority of parents and pupils were on my sidej 
but I could not deny the harsh facts which he had been 
enabled to obtain from some secret enemy, and which he 
thought justified him in saying that he would rather see 
his daughter in her grave than to see her my wife. The 
next day Caroline did not appear in school. Her father, 
with prompt energy, took her immediately to an academy 
fifty miles away. 

I did not attempt to follow her or write to her; a pro- 
found sense of discouragement came over me, and I looked 
on my acquaintance with her with a sort of remorse. The 
truth bitterly told by an enemy with a vivid power of state- 
ment is a tonic oftentimes too strong for one's power of 
endurance. I never reflected so seriously on the reeponsi- 
bitity which a man assumes in awakening the slumbering 
feelings of a woman and fixing them on himself. Under 
the reproaches of Caroline's father I could but regard this 
as a wrong I had done, and which could be expiated only 
by leaving her to peace in forge tfuin ess. I resolved that 
I wOTiId never let her hear from me again till I had fully 
proved myself to be posseased of such powers of self-control 
as would warrant me in ofTeriog to be the guardian of her 
happiness. 

But when I set myself to the work, I found what many 
another does, that I had reckoned without my host. The 
man who has begun to live and work by artificial stimu- 
lant never knows where he stands, and can never count 
upon himself with any certainty. He leta into his castle 



8!8 MT WIFE AND I 

a servant who becomes the most tyrannical of masters. He 
may resolve to turn him out, but will tiod himaelf reduced 
to the condition in which he can neither do with nor with- 
out him, In short, the use of stimulant to the brain- 
power brings on a disease, in whose paroxysms a man is no 
mors his own roaster than in the ravings of fever, a disease 
that few have the knowledge to understand, and for whose 
manifestations the world has no pity. 

I cannot tell you the dire despair that came upon me, 
when after repeated falls, bringing remorse and self-up- 
braiding to me, and drawing upon me the severest re- 
proaches of my frienda, the idea at last flashed upon me 
that I had indeed become the victim of a sort of periodical 
insanity in which the power of the will was overwhelmed 
by a wild unreasoning impulse. I remember when a boy 
reading an account of a bridal party sailing gaylj on the 
coast of Norway who were insidiously drawn into the resist- 
less outer whirl of the great Maelstriim. The horror of the 
situation was the moment when the shipmaster learned that 
the ship no longer obeyed the rudder ; the cruelty of it 
was the gradual manner in which the resiBtlesa doom came 
upon them. The sun still shone, the sky waa still blue. 
The shore, with its green trees and free birds and bloom- 
ing flowers, was near and visible as they went round and 
round in dizzy whirls, past the church with its peaceful 
spire, past the home cottages, past the dwellings of friends 
and neighbors, past parents, brothers, and sisters who stood 
on the shore warning and shrieking and entreating; help- 
less, hopeless, with bitterness in their souls, with all that 
made life lovely so near in sight, and yet cut oS from it 
by the swirl of that tremendous fate ! 

There have been just such hours to me, in which I have 
seen the hopes of manhood, the love of woman, the post'ia- 
sjou of u home, the opportunities for acquisition of name, 
and position, and property, all within sight, within greap^ 



A NEW OPENING 



329 



yet all made imposaible by my knowledge and conscious- 
uesa of the deadly drift and suction of that invisible whiil- 

The more of manliness there yet is left ia man in these 
circumstances, the more torture. The more sense of honor, 
love of reputation, love of friends, conscience in duty, the 
more anguish. I read once a frightful story of a woman 
whose right hand was changed to a serpent, which at inter- 
vals was roused to fiendish activity and demanded of her 
the blood of ber nearest and dearest friends. The hideous 
curse was ioappeaaable, and the doomed victim spellbound, 
powerless to resist. Even so the man who has lost the 
control of his will is driven to torture those he loves, while 
he shivers with horror and anguish at the sight. 

I have seen the time when I gave earnest thanks that no 
woman loved me, that I bad no power to poison the life of 
a wife with the fear, and terror, and lingering agony of 
watching the slow fulfillment of such a doom. 

It is enough to say that with every advantage — of 
friends, patronage, position — I lost all. 

The world is exigeant. It demands above everything 
that every man shall keep step. He who cannot falls to 
the rear, and is gradually left behind as the army moves on. 

The only profession left to me was one which could avail 
itself of my lucid intervals. The power of clothing thought 
with language is in our day growing to be a species of tal- 
ent for which men are willing to pay, and I have been 
able by this to make myself a name and a place in the 
world; and what is more, I hope to do some good in it. 

I have reflected upon my own temptation, endeavoring 
to divest myself of the horror with which my sense of the 
suffering and disappointment I have caused my friends in- 
spires me. I have settled in my own mind the limits of 
human responsibility on this subject, and bave come to the 
conclusion that it is to be regarded precisely as Mary Lamb 



MT WIFE AHD r 

and Charles Lamb regarded the incursion of the mania 
which destroyed the peace of their life, A man who un- 
dertakes to comprehend and cure himself has to figlit hia 
way hack alone. Nobody imderstanda, nobody eympathizes 
with him, nobody helps him — not becausQ the world is 
unfeeling, but because it is ignorant of the laws which 
govern this species of insanity. 

It took me, therefore, a great while to form my system 
of self-cure. I still hope for this, I, the sane and sound, 
/hope to provide for the insane and unsound intervals of 
my life. And my theory is, briefly, a total and eternal 
relinquishment of the poisonous influence, so that nature 
may have power to organize new and healthy brain-matter, 
and to remove that which is diseased. Nature will do this, 
in the end, for she is ever merciful; there is always "for- 
giveness with her, that she may be feared." Since you 
have known me, you have seen that I live the life of an 
anchorite — that my hours are regular, that I avoid excit- 
ing society, that I labor with uniformity, and that I never 
touch any stimulating drink. It is a peculiarity of caBes 
like mine that for lengths of time the morbid diseaee leaves 
us, and we feel the utmost aversion to anything of the 
kind. But there is always a danger lying behind this sub- 
tle calm. Three or four drops of alcohol, such as fi>rm the 
basis of a tincture which a doctor will order without scru- 
ple, will bring back the madness. One five-minutes' inad- 
vertence will upset the painful work of years, and carry 
one away as with a flood. When I did not know this, I 
was constantly falling. Society through all its parts is 
full of traps and pitfalls for such as I, and the only refuge 
ia in flight, 

It has been part of my rule of life to avoid all responsi- 
bilities that might involve others in my liability to failure. 
It ia now a very long time since I have felt any abnormal 
Bymptoms, and if I had not so often been thrown down 



A NEW OPENING 



331 



i 



after such a period of apparent calm, I might tmcj my 
dangers over, and myself a Bound man. 

The younger Hestermann was a. clasamate and chum of 
mine in college, and one whoBe friendship for me has held 
on thcough thick and thin. He has a trust in me that 
imposes on me a painful sense of responsibility. I would 
not fail him for a thousand worlds, yet if one of my hours 
of darkness should come I should fail iguominiously. 

Only one motive determined me to take their offer — it 
gave me a chance to provide for you and for Caroline. I 
dare do it only through trusting you for a friendship be- 
yond that of the common ; in short, for a brotherly kind- 
ness BUch as Charles Lamb showed to Mary, his sister. If 
the curse returns upon me, you must not let me ruin my- 
self and you ; you must take me to an asylum till I recover. 
In asking this of you, I am glad to be able to offer what 
will he to you an independent position, and give you that 
home and fireside which I may not dEire to hope for my- 
self. 

In the end, I expect to conquer, either here or hereafter. 
I believe in the Fatherhood of God, and that He has a 
purpose even in letting ua blindly stumhle through lite as 
we do; and through all my weakness and unworthineaa I 
still hold hJB hand. I know that the whole temptation ia 
one of brain and nerves, and when He chooses He can re- 
lease me. The poor brain will be cold and still for good 
and all some day, and I shall he free and able to see, I 
trust, why I have been suffered thus to stru^le. After 
all, immortality opens a large hope, that may overpay the 
most unspeakable bitterness of life. 

Meanwhile, you can see why I do not wish to be brought 
into personal relations with the only woman I have ever 
loved, or ever can love, and whose happiness I fear to put 
in peril. It ia an unspeakable delight and relief to have 
this power of doing for her, but she must not know of it. 



882 MY WIFE AND I 

Also, let me tell you that you are to me more transparent 
than you think. It requires only the penetration of friend- 
ship to see that you are in love, and that you hesitate and 
hang hack because of an unwillingness to match your for- 
tunes with hers. 

Let me suggest, do you not owe it as a matter of justice, 
after so much intimacy as has existed, to give her the 
opportunity to choose between a man and circumstances? 
If the arrangement between us goes into effect, you will 
have a definite position and a settled income. Go to her 
like a man and lay it before her, and if 'she is worthy of 
you she will come to you. 

** He either f ears his £ate too much, 
Or his deserts are small, 
That dares not put it to the touch 
To gain or lose it aU." 

God grant you a home and fireside, Harry, and I will be 
the indulgent uncle in the chimney-comer. 

Yours ever, Bolton. 



CHAPTER XXTX 



Soun. — IdA'B Stndj — 



Eva: "Heighol how stupid things are. I am tiied 
of everything. I am tired of shopping — tired of parties 
— tired of New York — where the same thing keeps hap- 
peniDg over and over. I wish I was a man. I 'd just 
take my carpet-hag and go to Europe. Come now, Ida, 
pray atop that, and talk to rao, do I " 

Ida (putting down her hook and pen): "Well — and 
what about t " 

"Oh, you know! — thia inextticahle puzzle — what doea 
ail a certain person! Now he didn't corae at all last 
night, and when I asked Jim Fellows where his friend was 
(one must pass the compliment of inquiring, you know), 
he said, 'Henderson had grown dumpy lately,' and he 
couldn't get him out anywhere," 

"Well, Eva, I'm sure I can't throw any light on the 
subject, I know no more than you," 

"Now, Ida, let me tell you, thia afternoon when we 
stopped in the Park, I went into that great rustic arbor on 
the top of the hill there, and just as we came in on one 
side I saw him in all haste hurrying out on the other, as if 
he were afraid to meet me." 

"How very odd! " 

"Odd! Well, I should think it was; bnt what was 
worse, he went and stationed himaelf on a bench under a 
tree where he could hear and see ub, and there my lord sat 
-perhaps he thought I didn't aee him, but I did. 



"Lillie and Belle Forrester and Wat Jerrold were with 
me, and we were having such a laugh! I don't know 
when 1 have bad such a frolic, and how siUy it was of him 
to sit there glowering like an owl in an ivy hush, when he 
might have come out and joined us, and had a good time I 
I 'm quite out of patience with the creature, it 'b ao vexa- 
tious to have him act so 1 " 

"It is vexatiouB, darling, but then as you can't do any- 
thing ahout it, why think of iti " 

"Because I can't help it. Can you have a real friend- 
ahip for a person and enjoy his society, and not care in the 
least whether you have it or noti Of course you can't. 
We were friends — quite good friends, and I 'm not 
ashamed to say I miss him very much, and then to have 
such an unaccountable mystery about it. I should think 
you'd mias him, too." 

"I do somewhat," said Ida, "but then you see I have 
ao much more to think of, I have my regular work every 
day for papa, and I have my plan of study, and to aay the 
truth, so far as I am concerned, thongh I liked Mr. Hen- 
derson very much, yet I don't miss him." 

" Well, Ida, now I vrant to ask you, did n't you think 
he acted aa if " — 

"Ab if he were in love with you, you would say." 

"Well— yes." 

"He certainly did, if I am any judge of symptoms; but 
then, dear, men are often in love with women they don't 
mean to marry." 

" Who wants to raarry hira, I should like to know I 
I 'm not thinking of that." 

"Well, then, Eva, perhaps he has discovered that he 
wants to marry you ; and, perhaps, for some reason he regards 
that as impossible, and ao is going to try to keep away." 

"How perfectly hateful and stupid of himl I 'd rather 
never have seen him. " 



PEBTUEBATIONS 



335 



" A man generally has this advantage over a wonian in 
a matter of this sort, that he has an object in life which is 
more to liirn than anything else, and he can fill his whole 
mind with that," 

"Well, Ilia, that 's all very true, but what object in life 
can a girl have who lives as we do; who has everything 
she can want without an effort — I for instance! " 

"But I have an object." 

"Yea, I know yon have, but I am different from you. 
It would be as impossible for me to do as you do as for a 
fish to wallc upright on dry land." 

"Well, Eva, this objectless, rootless, floating kind of 
life that you and almost all girls lead is at the bottom of 
nearly all your troubles. Literally and truly you have 
nothing in the world to do but to amuse yourselves; the 
consequence is that you soon get tired of almost every kind 
of amusement, and so every friendship and flirtation assumes 
a disproportioned interest in your minds. There is real 
danger now that you may think too much of Mr." — 

"Oh, stuff and nonsense, Idal I won't, so there] I'll 
put him out of my head forthwith and bolt the door. 
Give me a good stiff dose of reading, Ida; one of your 
dullest scientific books, and get me to write you an analysis 
of it Bs we did at school. Here, let me see, ' Descent of 
Man.' Come, now, I '11 ait down and go at it." 

Eva sits down with book, pencil, and paper, and turns 
over the leaves. " Let 's try how it looks. ' Sexual Selec 
tionM Oh, horrid! 'Her Ape-like Proportions'! I 
should be ashamed to talk so about my ancestors. Apee I 
— of all things — why not some more respectable animal J 
lions or horses, for example. You remember Swift's story 
about the houyhnhnms. Is n't this a dreadfully dull book, 
Idal" 

"No, I don't find it so, I am deeply interested in it, 
though I admit it is pretty heavy. " 



"But, then, Ida, you see it goes against the Bible, 
doesn't it)" 

"Not necessarily as I see." 

"Wty, yea; to be sure. I haven't read it; but Mr. 
Henderson gave me the clearest kind of a sketch of the 
aigument, and that ia the way it impressed me. That to 
he sure ia among the things I principally value him for; 
he is my milk - skim m er ; he geta all the creaui that riaea on 
a book and presents it to me in a portahle form. I remem- 
ber one of the very last really comfortable long talks we 
had; it was on this subject, and I told him that it seemed' 
to me that the modern theory and the Bible were point- 
blank opposites. Instead of men being a fallen race, they 
are a rising race, and never so high as now ; and then, 
what becomes of the Garden of Eden, and St. Paul I Kow, 
for my part, I told Mr. Henderson I wasn't going to give 
up all the splendid poetry of Milton and the Bible, just 
because Mr. Darwin took it into his head that it was not im- 
probable that my aeventj-fifth millionth grandfather might 
have been a big baboon with green noae and pointed ears I " 

"My dear Eva, you have capital reasons for believing 
and not believing. You believe what seems most agree- 
able and poetic." 

"Exactly, Ida; and in those far-off regions, sixteen 
million billion agea ago, why should n't I ? Nobody knows 
what happened there ; nobody has been there to see what 
made the first particle of jelly take to living, and turn into 
a germ cell, and then go working on like yeast, till it 
worked out into all the things we see. I think it a good 
deal easier to believe the Garden of Eden story, especially 
aa that is pretty and poetical, and ia in the dear old Book 
that is so sweet and comfortable to us; but then Mr. Hen- 
derson insists that even if we do hold the Evolution theory, 
the old Book will be no less true. I never saw a man of 
BO much thought who had bo much reverence." 



PEBTDRBATIONS 



387 



i 



"1 thought yon were going to stndy Darwin and not 
think of him," aaid Ida. 

"Well, somehow, almost everything pnta me in mind 
of him, hecause we have had such long talks about every- 
thing ; and, Ida, to tell the truth, I do believe I am intel- 
lectually lazy. I don't like rough hard work, I like pol- 
ishing and furhiahing. Now, I want a. man to go through 
all this tough, hard, stupid, disagreeable labyrinth of sci- 
entific terms, and pick out the meaning and put it into 
a few, plain words, and then I take it and brighten it up 
and put on the rainbows. Look here, now, think of my 
having to scrabble through a bog like this in the ' Origin 
of Species; ' — 

" ' In CarthamuB and some other compoaitie the central 
achenea alone are furnished with a pappus; and in HyoBeris 
the same head yields achenea of three different forma. In 
certain UmbeliiferEB the exterior seeds, according to Tanch, 
are orthospennous, and the central one ccelospermous, and 
this difference has been considered by De Candolle as of 
the highest systematic importance in the family. ' 

"Now all this ia just as unintelligible to me as if it were 
written in Choctaw. I don't know enough to know what 
it means, and I 'ra afraid I don't care enough to know. I 
want to know the upshot of the whole in good plain Eng- 
lish, and then see whether I can believe it or not; and 
ibn't it a shame that things are so that one cannot have a 
sensible man to be one's guide, philosopher, and friend 
without this everlasting marriage question coming upl If 
a woman makes an effort to get or keep a valuable friend, 
she is supposed to he intriguing and making unfeminine 
efforts for a husband. Now this poor man ia perfectly 
■wretched about something — for I can see he has really 
gone off shockingly, and looks thin and haggard, and I 
can't just write him a note and ask him to come and finish 
his r^sum^ of Darwin for me without going over the boun- 



dBiies; and the worst of it is, it is I who act these limita 
— I myself who am a world too proud to say the first word 
or give tbe slighteGt isdication that his abaence is n't quite 
as agreeable as his preaence. " 

"Well, Eva, I can write a note and request him to call 
and Bee me," said Ida, "and if you like, I wilL I have 
no sort of fear what he will think of me." 

"I would not have you for the world. It would look 
like an advance on our part — no indeed. These creatorea 
are so conceited, if they once find out that you can't do 
without them " — 

"I never observed any aigue of conceit in Mr. Hender- 
Bon." 

"Well, I have made it an object to keep him a little 
humble, bo far as his sex will permit, you see. But seri- 
ously, Ida, is not it curious about thia marriage matter T 
Everybody says it 's what we are made for, all the novels 
end with it, all the poems are about it, you are hearing 
about it in one way or other all the time; and yet all this 
while you are supposed not to care anything about it one 
way or the other. If a man be ever so agreeable to you, 
and do ever so much to make you like him, you must pre- 
tend that you are quite indifferent to liim, and don't care 
whether he comes or goes, until such time aa he cboosea 
to launch the tremendous question at you." 

"Well," said Ida, "I admit that there is just this ab- 
surdity in our life; but I avoid it all by firmly laying a 
plan of my own, and having a business of my own. To 
me marriage would be an interruption; it would require 
a breaking up and reconstniction of my whole plan, and ol 
course I really think nothing about it." 

" But are you firmly resolved never to marry ? " 

"No; but never, unless I find some one more to me 
than all on which I have set my heart. I do not need it 
for my heppinese. I am sufficient to myself; and beaidea 




PKRIUKBATIONS 



839 



I have an object I hope to attain, and that is to open a 
way by which many other women shall secure independeuce 
and comfort and ease." 

"Deary me, Ida, I wish I were like you: but I 'ra not. 
It aeema to me that the only way to give most girls any 
concentration or object ia to marry them. Then, some- 
how, things seem to arrange themaelves, and, at all events, 
the world stops talking about you, and wondering what 
yon are going to do; they get you off their minds, That 
I do believe was the reason why at one time I came so 
near drifting into that affair with Wat Sydney, Aunt 
Maria was so vigoroua with me and talked in such a com- 
manding manner, and with so many * of courses, ' that I 
really began to think I was one of the ' of courses ' myself; 
but my acquaintance with Mr. Henderson has shown me 
that it would be intolerable to live with a man that you 
couldn't talk with about everything that comes into your 
head; and now I can't talk with him, and I won't marry 
Wat Sydney; and so what is to be donel Shall I go to 
Stewart's and buy me a. new suit of Willow Green, or gird 
up the loins of my mind and go through Darwin like a 
man, and look out all the terms in the dictionary and come 
out the other side a strong-minded female 1 or shall I go 
and join the Sisters of St, John, and wear a great white 
cape and gray gown, and have all the world say I did it 
because I could n't get Wat Sydney (for that 's exactly 
what they would say), or what shall I dol The trouble is, 
mamma and Aunt Maria with their expectations. It 'a 
much as mamma can do to survive your course, and if I 
take to having a ' purpose ' too, I don't know but mamma 
would commit suicide, poor dear womao." 

(Enter Alice with empreisement.') 

"Girls, what do you thinks Wnt Sydney come back 
and going to give a great croquet p^rty out at Clainnont, 
uid of course we are all invited with notes in the most !»■ 



840 MY WIFE AND I 

splendent style, with crest and coat-of-anns, and everything 
— perfectly ^mag ' / There 's to be a steamboat with a band 
of music to take the guests up, and no end of splendid do- 
ings; marquees and tents and illuminations and fireworks, 
and to return by moonlight after all 's over ; is n't it lovely ? 
I do think Wat Sydney 's perfectly splendid ! and it 's all 
on your account, Eva, I know it is." 

"Pooh, nonsense, you absurd child, I don't believe it. 
I dare say it 's a party just to proclaim that he is engaged 
to somebody else." 

"Do you know," added Alice, "I met Jim Fellows, and 
he says everybody is wild about this party — just stark, 
tearing wild about it — for it isn't going to be a crush ^ 
something very select." 

" Is Jim going 1 " 

"Yes, he showed me his ticket and Henderson's, and he 
declared he was going to take ' Hal, ' as he called him, spite 
of his screams ; he said that he had been writing and study- 
ing and moping himself to death, and that he should drag 
him out by the hair of the head. Come, Eva, let 's go 
down to Tullegig's and have a * kank ' about costumes. I 
haven't a thing fit to wear, nor you either." 



CHAPTER XYY 



THE FATES 

Bolton's letter excited in my mind a tumult of feeling. 
From the beginning of my acquaintance I had regarded 
him with daily increasing admiration. Young men like a 
species of mental fealty — a friendship that seems to draw 
them upward and give them an ideal of something above 
themeelvea, Bolton's ripe, elegant scholarship, his rare, 
critical taste, his calm insight into men and things, and the 
depth of his moral judgment, hod inspired me with admira- 
tion, and his kindness for me with gratitude. It had al- 
ways been an additional source of interest that there waa 
something veiled about him — something that I could not 
exactly make out. This letter, so dignified in its melan- 
choly frankness, seemed to let me into the secret of his lite. 
It showed me the reason of that sort of sad and weary tol- 
erance with which he seemed to regard life and its instincts, 
so different from the fiery, forward-looking hope of youth. 
He had impressed me from the first as one who had made 
up his mind to endure all things and hope for nothing. 
To keep watch every moment, to do the duty of the hour 
thoroughly, bravely, faithfully, as a sentinel paces through 
wind, rain, and cold — neither asking why, nor uttering 
complaints — snch seemed to he Bolton's theory of life. 

The infirmity which he laid open to my view was one, 
to be sure, attributable in the first place to the thoughtless 
wrong-doing of confident youth. Yet, in its beginning, 
how little there was in it that looked like the deep and ter- 
rible tragedy to which it was leading! Out of every ten 



842 MY WIFE AKD I 

young men who begin the use of Btimulanta as a social er- 
Mlaration, there are perhaps five in wliose breast lies coiled 
up and sleeping this serpetit, destined in after-yeara to be 
the deadly tyrant of their life — this curse, unappeasable by 
tears or prayers or agonies — with whom the struggle ia like 
that of Laocoijn with the hideous Python. Yet souga and 
garlands and poetry encircle the wine-cup, and ridicule and 
contumely are reserved for him who fears to touch it. 

There was about this letter such a patient dignity, auch 
an evident bracing of the whole man to meet in the bravest 
manner the hard truth of the situation, and such a disinter- 
ested care for others, as were to me inexpressibly touching. 
I coidd not help feeling that he judged and sentenced him~ 
self too severely, and that this waa a case where a. noble 
woman might fitly co-wotk with a man, and by doubling 
his nature give it double power of resistance and victory. 

I went hastily up to his room with the letter in my 
hand after reading it. It was in the dusk of the evening 
twilight, but I could see him sitting there gazing out of the 
window at the fading sky ; yet it was too dark for either 
of us to see the face of the other. There are some con- 
versations that can only be held in darkness — the visible 
presence of the bodily form is an impediment — in dark- 
ness spirit speaks directly to spirit. 

"Bolton," I saiil, "I am yours to every intent and 
pose, yours for life and death." 

"And after," he said in a deep undertone, grasping my 
band. "I knew you would be, Harry." 

" But, Bolton, you judge yourself too severely. Why 
should you put from yovirself the joys that other men, not 
half so good as you, claim eagerly f If I were a woman 
like Caroline, I can feel that I would rather share life with 
you, in all your dangers and liabilities, than with many 
another. " 

He thought a moment, and then said slowly, "It ia well 



lark. 



k 



THE FATES 34S 

for Caroline that she has not this feeling; ehe probably has 
by this time foi^otten me, and I would not for the world 
take the reaponsibility of trying to call back the feeling she 
once had." 

At this moment my thoughts went back over many 
Bcenea, and the real meaning of all Caroline's life came to 
me. I appreciated the hardness of that lot of women which 
condemns them to be tied to one epot and one course of 
employment, when needing to ily from the atmosphere of 
an unhappy experience. I thought of the blank stillneea 
of the little mountain town where her life had been passed, 
of her restlessnesa and impatience, of that longing to fly to 
new scenes and employments that she had expressed to me 
on the eve of my starting for Europe; yet she had told me 
her story, leaving out the one vital spot in it. I remem- 
bered her saying that .she had never seen the man with 
whom she would think of marriage without a shudder. 
Was it because she had forgotten! Or was it that woman 
never even to herself admits that thought in connectioa 
with one who seems to have forgotten her! Or had her 
father so harshly painted the picture of her lover that she 
had been led to believe him utterly vile and unprincipled) 
Perhaps his proud silence had been interpreted by her as 
the silence of indifference; perhaps she looked back on 
their acquaintance with indignation that she should have 
been employed merely to diversify the leisure of a rusti- 
cated student and abandoned character. Whatever the ex- 
perience might he, Caroline had carried it through silently. 

Her gay, indifferent, brilliant manner of treating any ap- 
proach to matters of the heart, as if they were the very last 
Bubjecta in which she could be supposed to have any ex- 
perience or interest, had been a complete blind to rae, not 
could I, through this dazzling atmosphere, form the least 
conjecture as to how the land actually lay. 

In my former letters to her I had dwelt a good deal on 



S44 MY WTFK AND I 

Bolton, and mentioned the little fact of finding her photo- 
graph in hia room. In reply, in a postscript at the end of 
a letter about everything else, there was a brief notice. 
"The Mr. Bolton you speak of taught the Academy in our 
place while you were away at college — and of course I was 
one of hia scholars — hut I have never seen or heard of him 
since. I was very young then, and it seema like something 
in a preSxistent state to he reminded of him. I believed 
him very clever, then, hut was not old enough to form 
much of an opinion." I thought of all this as I sat 
silently in the dark with Bolton. 

"Are you sure," I said, "that you consult for Caroline's 
best happiness in doing as you have done)" 

Tfaere was a long pause, and at last he said with a deep- 
drawn breath : — 

"Yes. I am sure, the less I am to her the better." 

" But may not your silence and apparent neglect and in- 
difference have given pain) " 

"Probably; but they helped her to cease caring for me; 
it was necessary that she should." 

"Bolton, you are morbid in your estimate of yourself." 

"You do not know all, Hal; nor what nor where I have 
been. I have been swept for out to sea, plunged under 
deep waters, all the waves and billows have been over me. " 

"Yet now, Bolton, surely you are on firm land. No man 
is more established, more reliable, more useful." 

"Yet," he said with a kind of shudder, "all this I might 
lose in a moment. The other day when I dined with Hes- 
termann, the good fellow had hia wines in all frank fellow- 
ship and pressed them on me, and the very smell distracted 
me. I looked at the little glass in which he poured some 
particularly fine sherry, and held to me to taste, and thought 
it was like so much heart's hlood. If I had taken one 
taste, just one, I should have been utterly worthless and 
unreliable for weeks. Yet Heetennann could not under- 



THE FATES 



345 



stand this; nobody can, except c 
mj bitter experience. One sip wt 
fire, and then, all fear, all care, 
gone, and not one glass, but a d( 



10 who has been through 
aid flash to the brain like 
would be 
dd be inevitable. 



and then you might have to look for me in some of those 
dens to which the possessed of the devil flee when the lit 
is on them, and where they lave and tear and cut them- 
selvea with stones till the madaess is worn out. This has 
happened to me over and over, after long periods of self- 
denial and seU-contiol and Ulusive hope. It seems to me 
that my experience ia like that of a man whom Bome cruel 
fiend condemns to go through all the agonies of drowning 
over and over again — the dark plunge, the mad struggle, 
the suffocation, the horror, the agony, the clutch at the 
shore, the weary clamber up steep rocks, the sense of relief, 
recovery, and hope, only to be wrenched off and thrown 
back to struggle, and strangle, and sink again." 

He spoke with such a deep intensity of voice that I drew 
in my breath, and a silence as of the grave fell between us. 

"Harry," he said, after a pause, "you know we read in 
the Greek tragedies of men and women whom the gods 
have smitten with unnatural and guilty purposes, in which 
they were irresiatihly impelled toward what they abomi- 
nated and shuddered at! Is it not strange that the Greek 
fable should have a real counterpart in the midst of our 
modem lifeT That young men in all the inexperience and 
thoughtlessness of youth should bo beguiled into just such a 
fatality ; that there should be a possibility that they could 
be blighted by just such a doom, and yet that song, and 
poetry, and social illusion, and society customs should all be 
thrown around courses which excite and develop this fatal- 
ity! What opera is complete without its drinking chorus J 
I remember when it used to be my forte to sing drinking 
songs; so the world goes! Men triumph and rejoice going 
to a doom to which death is a trifle. If I had faJlen dead. 



the first glass of nine I tasted, it would hnve been thonght 
a horrible thing; but it would have been better for my 
mother, better for me, than to bave lived aa I did." 

"Oh, no, BO, Bolton! don't say so; you become morbid 
in dwelling on thia subjeet." 

"N^o, Hal. I only know more of it than you. Thia 
curse has made life an unspeakable burden, a doom instead 
of a privilege. It has disappointed my friends, and sub- 
jected me to such humiliations and agonies that death seema 
to me a refuge; and yet it was all in its beginning mere 
thoughtlesanesa and ignorance. I was lost before I knew 
it" 

"But yoa are not lost, and you shall not bet" I ex- 
claimed. "You are good for more than most men now, and 
you will come through this." 

"Neverl to be just as others are. I shall be a vessel 
with a crack in it, always." 

"Well, a vaae of fine porcelain with a crack in it ia 
better than earthenware without," I said. 

"If I had not disappointed myself and my friends ao 
often," said Bolton, "I might look on myself as sound and 
sane. But the mere sight and smell of the wine at Hester- 
mann's dinner gave me a giddy sensation that alarmed me; 
it showed that I was not yet out of danger, and it made 
me resolve to strengthen myself by making you my keeper. 
You have the advantage of perfectly healthy nerves that 
have come to manhood without the strain of any false 
stimulus, and you can be strong for both of us." 

"God grant itl " said I earnestly. 

"But I warn you that, if the curse comes upon me, you 
are not to trust me. I am a Christian and a man of honor 
in my sane moments, but let me tell you, one glass of wine 
would make me a liar on this subject, I should lie, and 
intrigue, and deceive the very elect, to get at the miserable 
completion of the aroused fury, and there are times when 



I am so excited that I fear I may take that first irrevocable 



a temptation of the Devil, 

1 with my experience know ; 

1 having a friend of a steaily 

The mere fact that you do 



Bt«p; it iR a horror, a nightniar 
— for that there is a devil, in* 
but there ia a kind of safety i: 
pulse with me who knows all. 
know helps hold me firm." 

"Bolton," said I, "the situation you offer to Caroline 
in the care of the ' Ladies* Cabinet ' will of course oblige 
her to come to New York. Shall you meet her and renew 
your acquaintance? " 

"I do not desire to," he said, 

slight hesitancy and faltering of his Toice 



as he spoke 
"Yet it 



n hardly be possible that you will not meet; 
arrangeraenta to make with her." 
That is one of the uses, among others, of having yon. 
All that relates to lier affairs will pass through you ; and 
now, let us talk of the magazine and its programme for the 
season. What is the reason, Hal, that you waste your 
forces in short sketches) Why do you not boldly dash 
out into a serial story 1 Come, now, I am resolved among 
other things on a serial story by Harry Henderson." 

"And I will recommend a taking title," cried Jim Fel- 
lows, who came in as we were talking, and stood behind 
mj chair. " Let us hare 



There 's a title to take with the reflecting public I The 
readers of serials are generally girls from twelve to twenty, 
and they read them with their back hair down, lounging on 
the bed, just before a nap after dinner, and there must be 
enough blood and thunder, and murder and adultery and 
mystery in them to keep the dear creatures reading at least 

half an hoUT," 



"I think serial stories ate about played out in our day," 

"Not a bit of it. There 'a sister Nell, don't read any- 
thing else. She is regularly running on five serial stories, 
and among them all they keep her nicely a-goiug; and she 
tells me that the case is the same with all the girls in her 
set. The knowledge of the world and of human nature 
that the pretty creatures get in this way is Eomething 
quite aatouudiug. Nell is at present deeply interested in 
a fair lady who connives with her chambermaid to pass off 
her illegitimate child upon her husband as his own; and 
we have lying and false swearing — I say nothing of all 
other kinds of interesting things — on every page. Of course 
this is written as a mural lesson, and interspersed with 
pious reflections to teach girls as how they had n't oughter 
do so and so. All this, you see, has a refining effect upon 
the rising generation." 

" But, really, Bolton, don't you think that it is treating 
our modern society as children, to fall in with this extreme 
fashion of story- teUing 1 It seems so childish to need 
pictures and stories for everything. Is n't your magazine 
strong enough to lead and form public taste instead of fal- 
lowing it! " 

"Well, if I owned my magazine I would try it," said 
Bolton. " But, you see, the HestermaimB, while they give 
me carte Uancke as to means to run it, expect of course 
that it is to he run in the approved popular grooves that 
the dear thoughtless ten million prefer. Tlie people who 
lounge on beds after dinner are our audience, and there 
must he nothing wiser nor stronger than they can appre- 
hend between sleeping and waking. We talk to a hlaai, 
hurried, unreflecting, indolent generation, who want emo- 
tion and don't care for reason. Something sharp and 
spicy, something pungent and stinging — no matter what 
or whence. And now as they want this sort of thing, 



THE PATE8 



349 



why not give it to them ! Are there no other condiments 
for eeasoning stories besides intrigues, lies, murders, and 
adulteries) And it the young and unreflecting will read 
stories, should n't some of the thoughtful and reflecting 
make stories for them to readi " 

" Of course they should, Q. E. D, , " said Jim Fellows, 
touching the gas with a match, and sending a flare of light 
upon our conference. " But come, now, hehold the last 
novelty of the season," said he, tossing two cards of invi- 
tation. "This is for us, as sons of the press and record- 
ing angels, to he present at Wat Sydney's grand blow-out 
next Tuesday. All the rank and fashion are to go. It is 
to be very select, and there are people who would give 
their eye-teeth for these cards, and can't get 'em. How 
do ye say, Old Man of the Mountain, will you go t " 

"No," said Bolton; "not ray line." 

"Well, at all events, Hal has got to go. I promised 
the fair Alice that I 'd bring him if I had to take bim by 
the hair." 

I had a great mind to decline. I thought in my heart 
it was not at all the wisest thing for me to go; but then, 
Amare et sapere vh Deo — I had never seen Sydney, 
and I had a restless desire to see him and Eva together' — 
and I thought of forty good reasons why I should go. 





Now I advise all seriouE, eensible individuBlB % 
intend to do enything that is not exactly most reasonable 
and most prudent, and who always do exactly as they in- 
tend, not to follow my steps on the present occasion, for 
I am going to do exactly what is not to be recommended 
to young gentlemen in my situation, and certainly what is 
not at all prudent. For if a young man finds himaelf, 
without recall, hopelessly in love with one whose emilea 
are all for another, his best way is to keep out of her soci- 
ety, and in a course of engrossing business that will leave 
him as little time to think of her as possible. 

I bad every advantage for pursuing this course, for I 
had a press of writing upon me, fimshing up a batch of 
literary job-work which I wished to get fairly out of the 
way 80 that I might give my whole energies to Bolton in 
our new enterprise. In fact, to go off philandering to a 
croquet party up the North River was a sheer piece of 
childish folly, and the only earthly reason I could really 
give for it was the presence of a woman there that I had re- 
solved to avoid. In fact, I felt that the thing was so alto- 
gether silly that I pretended to myself that I was impreg- 
nably resolved against it, and sat myself down in Bolton's 
room making abstracts from some of his hooka, knowing all 
the while that Jim would seek me out there and have his 
moral fish-hook fast in my coat-collar, as in truth he did. 

"Come, come, Hal," he said, bursting in, "I promised 
the divineat of her eex to bring you along. " 



TEE GAMK OF CItOQUET 



351 



"Oh, nonaense, Jim! it 'a out of the question," eaid I. 
"I 've got to get this article done, " 

"Oh, you be hanged with your article! Corae along! 
What's the use of a fellow's shutting himself up with 
hooka) I tell you, Hal, if you 're going to write for folka 
you must see folks and folka muat aee you, and you must 
be around and into and a part of all that 'a going on. 
Come on! Why, you don't know the honor done you. 
It 's a tip-top select party, and all the handsomest girla 
and all the nobby fellows will be there, and no end of fun. 
Sydney's place alone is worth going to see. It 'b the crack 
place on the river; and then they say the engagement is 
going to be declared, and everybody is wild to kmjw 
whether it is or isn't to be, and the girls are furbishing up 
fancy suits to croquet in. Miss Alice treated me to a 
glimpse of hers as I met hei on TuUegig's steps, and it's 
calculated to drive a fellow crazy, and so come now, " laid 
Jim, pulling away my papers and laying hold of me, "let 'a 
go out and get some gloves and proceed to make ourselves 
up. We have the press to represent, and we must be 
nobby, so hang expense! here 's for Jouvin's best, and let 
to-morrow take care of itself." 

!Now, seconding all these temptations weis that perverse 
inclination tiiat makes every man want to see a little more 
and taate a little more of what he has had too much already. 
Moreover I wanted to see Eva and Wat Sydney together. 
I wanted to be certain and satisfy myself with my own 
eyes not only that they were engaged, but that she waa in 
love with him. If she be, said I to myself, she is cer- 
tainly an exquisite coquette and a dangerous woman for me 
to keep up an acquaintance with. 

In thinking over as I had done aince Mrs. Van Arsdel's 
motherly conversation all our intercourse and acquaintance 
with each other, her conduct sometimes seemed to me to 
be that of a veritable "Lady Clara Vere de Vere," bent on 




WIFE AND I 

amuBing herself, and diversifying the tedium of fashionable 
life by exciting feelings which she had no thought of re- 
tiorniiig. When I took this view of matters I felt angry 
and contemptuous, and resolved to show the fair lady that 
I could be as indifferent as she. Sometimes I made myself 
supremely wretched by supposing that it was by her desire 
that Mrs, Van Aredel had held the conversation with me, 
and that it was a sort of intimation that ahe had perceived 
my feelings, and resolved to put a decided check upon 
tliera. But of course nothing so straightforward and sen- 
sible as going to her for an e.tplanation of all this was to 
be thought of. In fact, our intercourse with one another 
ever since the memorable occasion I refer to had been daily 
lessening, and now was generally limited to passing the 
most ordinary commonplaces with each other. She had 
grown cold and dry, almost haughty, and I was conscious 
of a most utmaturaJ rigidity and constraint. It seemed to 
me sometimes astonishing wheji I looked back a little, to 
reflect how perfectly easy and free and unconstrained we 
always had been up to a certain point, to find that now we 
met with so little enjoyment, talked and said so little to 
any purpose. It was as if some evil enchanter bad touched 
us with his wand, stiffening every nerve of pleasure. To 
look forward to meeting her in society was no longer, as it 
had been, to look forward to delightful hours; and yet for 
the life of me I could not help going where this most unsat- 
isfactory, tantalizing intercourse was all I had to hope for. 

But to-day, I said to myself, I would grasp the thorns 
of the situation so firmly as to break them down and take 
a firm hold on reality. If, indeed, her engagement were 
to-day to be declared, I would face the music like a man, 
walk up to her and present my congratulations in due form, 
and then the acquaintance would make a gallant finale in 
the glare of wedding lamps and the fanfaronade of wedding 
feetivities, and away to fi«eh fields and pastures new. 



THE GAME OF CROQUET 



353 



In abort, whatever a man ie secretly inclined to da there 
are always a hundred sensible incontrovertible reasons to 
be found for doing, and so I found myself one of the gay 
and festive throng on board the steamer, A party of well- 
dressed people floating up the North Etver of a bright 
spring day is about as ideal a picture of travel as can be 
desired. In point of natural scenery the Khine is nothing 
compared with the Hudson, and our American steamboats 
certainly are as far ahead of any that ever appeared on the 
Bbine aa Aladdin's palace is ahead of an ordinary dwelling. 
The most superb boat on the river had been retained for 
the occasion, and a baud of music added liveliness to the 
Bcene as we moved off from the wharf in triumph, as gay, 
glittering, festive a company as heart could wish. 

Wat Sydney as host and entertainer was everywhere 
present, making himself agreeable by the most devoted 
attentions to the comfort of the bright band of tropical 
birds, fl-uttering in silks and feathers and ribbons, whom 
he had charge of for the day. I was presented to him by 
Jim Fellows, and had an opportunity to see that apart from 
his immense wealth he had no very striking personal points 
to distinguish him from a hundred other young men about 
him. His dress was scrupulously adjusted, with a care 
and nicety which showed that he was by no means without 
consideration of the personal impression he made. Every 
article was the choicest and best that the most orthodos 
fashionable emporiums pronounced the latest thing, or as 
Jim Fellows phrased it, decidedly "nobby," He was of 
a medium height, with very light hair and eyes, and the 
thin complexion which usually attends that style, and 
which, under the kind of exposure incident to a man's life, 
generally tends to too much redness of face. 

Altogether, my first running commentary on the man aa 
I shook hands with him was, that if Eva were in love with 
him it was not for his beauty ; yet I could see glances 



854 



HY WITE AND I 



falling on him on all aides from imdeninbly handsome eyas 
that would have excused any man for having a favorable 
conceit of hia own personal presence. 

Mr. Sydney was well accustomed to being the cynosure 
of female eyes, and walked the deck with the assured step 
of a man certain of pleasing. A rich, good-humored young 
man who manifests liimself daily in splendid turnouts, who 
rains down flowers and confectionery among his feminine 
acquaintances, and sends dianionds and pearls ae philopena 
presents, certainly does not need a romantic style of beauty 
or any particular degree of mental culture to make bis soci- 
ety more than acceptable. Prudent mammaa were gener- 
ally of opinion that the height of felicity for a daughter 
would be the position that should enable her to be the 
mistress and dictatrix of his ample fortune. Mr. Sydney 
was perfectly well aware of this state of things. He waa 
a man a little blasi with the kind attentions of matrons, 
and tolerably secure of the good-will of very charming 
young ladies. He had the prestige of success, and had 
generally carried hia points in the worid of men and things. 
Miss Eva Van Aradel had been the first young lady who 
had given him the novel sensution of a repulse, and thence- 
forth became an object of absorbing interest in bis eyes. 
Under the careless good-humor of his general appearance 
Sydney had a constitutional pertinacity, a persistence in 
his own way that had been a source of many of his brilliant 
successes in business. He was one of those whom obstacles 
and difficulties only stimulate, and whose tenacity of pur- 
pose increases with resistance. He was cautious, sagacious, 
ready to wait and watch and renew the attack at intervals, 
but never to give up. To succeed was a tribute to his own 
self-esteem, and whatever was difficult of attainment waa 



the 



valuable. 



A little observation during the co 
convinced me that there was us yet n 



rse of the first houi 
announcement of an 



THE GAME OF CROQUET 355 

engagement. Mth, Van Aredel and Aunt Maria Wouyer- 
mans, to be sure, were on most balmy and confidential 
teima with Mr. Sydney, addressing him with every appear- 
ance of mysterious intimacy, and quite willing to produce 
the impteasjon that the whole fSte was in some manner a 
tribute to the family, but tliese appearances were not car- 
ried out by any cooperative movements on the part of Eva 
hereelf. She appeared radiant in a fanciful blue croquet 
Euit which threw out to advantage the golden shade of her 
hair and the pink sea-shell delicacy of her cheek, and as 
usiial she had her court around her and was managing her 
circle with the addrese of a practiced habituie of society. 



Favors tn nonp 


to all she sn 


1» Mtends, 








Bright SB the » 


UD, her beams 




And like Che Bu 


E, they Bmile 





Unlike many of her sex, Eva had the faculty of carrying 
the full cup of bellehood without spilling an unseemly 
drop, and as she was one of those who seem to have quite 
as much gift in charming her feminine as her masculine 
acquaintances, she generally sat surrounded by an admiring 
body-guard of girls who laughed at her jests and echoed 
her hon mots and kept up a sort of radiant atmosphere of 
life and motion and gayetj around her. Her constitutional 
good-nature, her readiness to admire other people, and to 
help each in due season to some small portion of tbe ap- 
plause and admiration which are lying about loose for gen- 
eral circulation in society, all contributed to her popidarity. 
Ah I approached the circle they were discussing with great 
animation the preliminaries of a match game of croquet 
that was proposed to be played at Ciairmont to-day. 

"Oh, here comes Mr. HcndersonI let's ask him," she 
said, as I approached the circle. 

"Don't you think it will he a nice thing T" she said, 
"Mr. Sydney has arranged that after playing the first 



games ae a trial the four beat players shall be elected to 
play a. match game, two on each side." 

"I think it will vary the usual monotony of croquet," 
said I. 

"Hear him," she said gayly, "talk of the usual monot- 
ony of croquet! For my part, I think there is a constant 
variety to it, no two games are ever alike." 

"To me," I said, "it aeema that after a certain amount 
of practice the result is likely to he the same thing, game 
after game. " 

"Girls," she said, "I perceive that Mr. Henderson is 
used to carrying all before him. He w probably a cham- 
pion player who will walk through all the wickets as a 
matter of course." 

"Not at all," I said. "On the contrary, I shouldn't 
wonder if I should ' booby ' hopelessly at the very first 
wicket. " 

"And none the worse for that," said Sydney. "I've 
boobied three times running, in the iiret of a game, and yet 
beaten; it gets one's blood up, and one will beat." 

"For my part," said Miss Alice, "the more my blood 
is up the less I can do ; if I get excited I lose my aim, my 
hand trembles, and I miss the very simplest move." 

"I think there is nothing varies so much as one's luck 
in croquet," said Eva, "Sometimes for weeks together I 
am sure to hit every aim and to carry every wicket, and 
then all of a sudden, without rhyme or reason, I make the 
most absurd failures, and generally when I pique myself 

"I think. Miss Eva, I remember you as the best player 
in Newport last summer," said Mr. Sydney. 

"And likely as not I shall fail ingloriously to-day," said 
she. 

"Well, we shall all have a time for bringing out hands 
in," said Mr, Sydney. "I have arranged four cioiii^et 



THE GAME OF CfiOQUET 



357 



groundB, and the fifth one is laid out for the trial game 
with longer intervals and special difficulties in the arrange- 
ment, to make it aa exciting as poBsible. The victorious 
Bide K to have a prize, " 

"Oh, how splendid! What is the prisie to be)" was 
the general exclamation. 

" Behold, then ! " said Mr. Sydney, drawing from hia 
pocket a velvet case which when opened displayed a tiny 
croquet mallet wrought in gold and set as a lady's pin. 
Depending from it by four gold chains were four little balls 
of emerald, ruby, amethyst, and topaz. 

" How perfectly lovely ! how divine ! how beautiful ! " 
were the sounds that arose from the brilliant little circle 
that were in a moment precipitated upon the treasure. 

"You will really set them all by the ears, Mr. Sydney," 
said Mis. Yan Arsdel. "Croquet of itself ia exciting 
enough; one is apt to lose one's temper." 

"You ought to see mamma and Mrs. Van Duzen and 
Aunt Maria play," said Eva, "if you want to see an edify- 
ing game; it's too funny. They are all so polite and so 
dreadfully courtly and grieved to do anything disagreeable 
to each other, and you know croquet is such a perfectly 
selhsh, savage, unchristian game ; so when poor Mrs. Van 
Duzen is told that she ought to croquet mamma's ball away 
from the wicket, the dear lady is quite ready to cry, and 
declares that it would be such a pity to disappoint her, that 
she croquets her through her wicket, and looks round apolo- 
gizing for her virtues with such a pitiful face I ' Indeed, 
my dear, I couldn't help it! ' " 

"Well," said Mrs. Yan Arsdel, "I really think it ia 
too bad when a poor body has been battering and laboring 
at a difficult wicket to he croqueted back a do/en times." 

"It 's meant for the culture of Christian patience, 
' said Eva. "Croquet is the game of life, you 



958 HY WIFE AND I 

"Certainly," eaid Mr, Sydney, rubbing hia hands, "and 
it teaches you just how to manage, use your friends to help 
yourself along, and then ctoquet them iiito good positions; 
use your enemies as long as you want them, oud then send 
them to " — 

"The Devil," said Jim Fellowe, who never hesitated to 
fill up an emphatic blank in the conversation. 

"I didn't say that," said Mr. Sydney. 

" But you meant it, all the eame ; and that 's the long 
and the short of the philosophy of the game of life," said 

"And," said I, "one may read all sorts of life histories 
in the game. Some go on with a steady aim and true 
stroke, and make wickets, and hit balls, yet are croqueted 
back iugloriously or hopelessly wired and lose the game, 
while others blunder advantageously and are croqueted 
along by skillful partners into all the best places." 

" There are few of us girls that make our own wicketa 
in life," said Eva. "We are all croqueted along by papas 
and mammas." 

"And many a man is croqueted along by a smart wife," 
said Sydney. 

"But more women by smart husbands," said Mrs. Van 
Arsdel. 

On that there was a general exclamation, and the con- 
versation forthwith whisked into one of those animated 
whirlwinds that always arise when the comparative merits 
of the sexes are moved. There was a flutter of ribbons and 
a rustle of fans and a laughing cross-fire of sharp sayinga, 
till the whole was broken up by the announcement that ve 
were drawing neat the landing. 



CHAPTER XXXn 



THE MATCH SAME 

The lawn at Clainuont made a brilliant Bpectacle, all 
laid out with different croquet sets. The turf was like 
velvet, and adjoining every ground was a pretty tent, with 
Beats and every commodioua provision for repairing at once 
any temporary derangement of the feminine toilette. Tbe 
fluttering of gay flags and pennons from these various tenta 
gave an airy and breezy look to the scene, and immediately 
we formed ourselves into eets, and the games began. It 
had been arranged that the preliminary playing should take 
place immediately, and the match game be reserved till 
after lunch. Tbe various fancy costumes of the players, 
lit up by the bright sunshine, and contraeted with the 
emerald green of the lawn, formed a brilliant and animated 
picture, watched with interest by groups of non-combatants 
from rustic aeats under the trees. Of course everybody 
was a little nervous in the trial games, and there was tbe 
usual amount of ill luck, and of "ohs and abs " of success 
or failure. I made myself a "booby " twice, in that unac- 
countable way that seems like fatality. Then suddenly, 
favored of the fates, made two wickets at once, seized an 
antagonist's ball, and went with it at one heat through the 
side wicket, the middle and other side wicket up to the 
stake and down again, through the middle wicket to the 
stake again, and then struck back a glorious rover to join 
my partner. It was one of those prodigiously lucky runs, 
when one's ball goes exactly where it is intended, and stops 
exactly in the right place, and though it was mostly owing 



to good luck, with the usual prestige of succees I was cov- 
ered with glory and congratulations, and my pnrtner, Mira 
Sophie Elmore, herself a champion at croquet, was pleased 
to express most unbounded admiration, especially as our 
aide came out decidedly victorious. 

Miss Sophie, a neat little vigorous brunette, in a ravieb- 
ing fancy croquet suit, entered into the game with all that 
whole-hearted ardoi which makes women such temble com- 
batanta. 

"Oh, I do hope that we shall be in at that final match 
game!" she said, with a. charming abandon of manner, 
" I should so like to beat Eva Van Aradel. Those Van 
Arsdela always expect to carry ail before them, and it 
rather provokes me, I confess. Now, with you to help 
me, Mr. Henderson, I am sure we could beat." 

"Iton't put too much faith in my accidental run of 
luck, " I said. " ' One swallow does not make a summer. ' " 

"Oh, I 'm quite sure by the way you managed your game 
that it wasn't luck. But you see I want to try with Eva 
Van Arsdel again, for she and I were held to be the beat 
players at Newport last summer, and she beat in the last 
' rubber ' we played. It was so provoking — just one slip 
of the mallet that ruined me! You know, sometimes, how 
your mallet will turn in your hands. She made just such 
a slip and took the stroke over again. Now that is what 
I never will do, you see," etc., etc. 

In short, I could see that for pretty Miss Sophie, at', 
present, croquet was, to all intents and purposes, the whol# 
game of life, that every spangle and every hairpin b 
her was vital with excitement to win. 

After lunch came the ballot for the combatants who v 
to play the deciding game, and the parties elected i 
Miss Sophie Elmore, Miss Eva Van Aradel, Mr, Sydni 
and myself. 

"MisB Van Arsdel," said Mr, Sydney, "you must be n 



THE MATCH OAME 



361 



i 



captain. After the feate that you aad Mr. Henderson 
have been performing it would be impossible to allow you 
both on one side." 

"I think just as likely as not you will be worsted for 
your pains," said Eva. "I know Sophie of old for a ter- 
rible antagonist, and when she pulls on her croquet glovea 
like that, it means war to the knife, and no quarter. So, 
my dear, begin the tournament." 

The wiekets were arranged at extra distances upon this 
trial ground, and it waa hardly prudent to attempt making 
two wickets at onee, but Miss Sophie played in the adven- 
turous style, and sent her ball with a vigorous tap not only 
through both the first wickets, but so far ahead that it waa 
entangled in the wires of the middle wicket, in a way that 
made it impossible to give it a fair stroke. 

"Now, how vexatiousl " she cried. 

"I have two extra strokes for my two wickets, but I 
flhall make nothing by it." In fact. Miss Sophie, with 
two nervous hits, succeeded only in placing her ball exactly 
whore with fair luck the next player must be sure to get it. 

Eva now came through the lirst two wickets, one at a 
time, and with a well-directed tap took possession of Miss 
Sophie, who groaned audibly, "Oh, now she's got me! 
well, there 's no saying now where she '11 stop." 

In fact. Miss Eva performed very skillfully the rSle of 
the "cat who doth play, and after — slay." She was per- 
fect mistress of the tactics of split-shots, which sent her 
antagonist's ball one side the wicket and hers the other, 
and all the other mysteries of the craft, and she used them 
well, till she had been up and hit the stake and come down 
to the middle wicket, when her luck failed. 

Then came my turn, and I came through the first two 
wiekets, struck her ball and used it for the next two wick- 
ets, till I came near my partner, when with a prosperous 
split-shot I sent her off to distant regions, struck my part- 



362 MY WIFE AKD I 

ner'e ball, put it through ita wicket, and came and sta- 
tioned myself within ita reach for future use. 

Then came Mr. Sydney with a vigorous succeBsion of 
hita, and knocked us apart; sent one to one side of the 
grouad, and uiie to the other, and went gallantly up to hie 
])artner. By tliia time our blood was thorougbly up, and 
the game became, as Eva ptopheaied, "war to the knife." 
Mohawk Indians could not have been more merciless in 
purposes of utter mischief to each other than we, and for 
a while it seemed as if nothing was done but to attack 
each other's balls, and send them as far as possible to the 
uttermost part of the grounds. As each had about equal 
skill in making long shots the Reunion, however, was con- 
stantly effected, and thus each in turn was beaten back 
from the wickets, till it seemed for a while that the game 
would make no progress. 

At last, liowever, one slip of our antagonists threw the 
power into our bands, and Miss Sophie used it to take herself 
and me up through three wickets to the stake, and thence 
down again till the intricate middle wicket stopped our course. 

A burst of cheering greeted her success, and the dark 
little lady seemed to glow like a coal of fire. I wasn't soie 
that sparks did not snap from her eyes as she ended her 
performance with a croquet that sent Eva's hall spinning 
to the most inaccessible distance. 

A well-pointed shot from Wat Sydney again turned the 
tide of battle, and routed the victors, while he went to the 
rescue of the banished princess, and took hex back to poUf 

Every turn of the tide and every good shot were hailed 
with cheers, and the excitement became intense. There 
were points in the battle aa hard to carry as the Malakoff, 
and we did nothing but hght, without advancing a step. 
It seemed for a while that none of us would ever bo far get 
the advantage of another as to pass that downward middle 



TRK HATCH GAHB 



868 



wicket. Every succesBive step was won by battles. The 
ladies were so excited that they seemed two flumes of fire. 
Every nerve in them was alive, and we men felt ourselves 
only clumsy instruments of their enkindled ardor. We 
were ordered about, commanded, rebuked, encouraged, and 
cheered on to the fray with a pungency and vigor of deci- 
aion that made us quite secondary characters in the scene. 
At last a fortunate stroke gave Miss Sophie the command 
of the game, and she dashed through the middle wicket, 
sent Eva's ball to farthest regions up, and Mr. Sydney's 
down to the stake, took mine with her in her victorious 
race through wicket after wicket, quite through to the 
stake, and then leaving me for a moment she croqueted 
Sydney's ball against the stake, and put it out. A general 
cheer and shouts of " Victory " arose. 

"We've got it! We're quite sure to go out the next 
move!" she said, in triumph, as she left her ball by my 
aide. "She never can hit at that distance." 

" I can try, though, " said Eva, walking across the 
ground, and taking her place by her ball, pale and resolved, 
with a concentrated calmness. She sighted the balls delib- 
erately, poised her mallet, took aim, and gave a well-con- 
sidered stroke. Like a straight- aimed arrow the ball flew 
across the green, through the final wicket, and struck 
Sophie's ball! 

A general cheering arose, and the victorious markswoman 
walked deliberately down to finish her work. One stroke 
put Sophie out of the combat, the next struck upon mo, 
and then from me up to the head of the last two wickete 
that yet remained to be made. She came through these 
with one straight stroke, and hit me again. 

" Now for it, " she said, setting her red-hooted foot firmly 

1 the ball, and with one virulent tap, away flew my ball 
to the other end of the ground, while almost immediately 
bets hit the stake and the victory was won. 



864 MY WIFE AND I 

A general shout, and three cheers, and all the spectators 
started from their seats like a troop of gay tropical birds, 
and came flocking around the victors. 

I knelt down, and laid my mallet at her feet. " Beauti- 
ful princess!'' said I, "behold your enemies, conquered, 
await your sentence." 

"Arise, Sir Knight," she said, laughing; "I sentence 
you to write a ballad describing this battle. Gome, So- 
phie," she added, turning gayly to the brunette, "let's 
shake hands on it. You shall have your revenge of me at 
Newport this summer," and the two rival fair ones shook 
hands in all apparent amity. 

Wat Sydney now advancing presented the prize with a 
gallant bow, and Eva accepted it graciously, and fastened 
the blue scarf that .floated over her shoulder with it, and 
then the whole party adjourned to another portion of the 
lawn, which had been arranged for dancing; the music 
struck up, and soon we were all joining in the dance with 
a general hilarity. 

And so ended the day at Glairmont, and we came home 
under a broad full moon, to the sound of music on the 
waters. 



CHAPTER XXXni 



LKTTEB FEOM BVA VAN ARSDEL 



My dearest Belle, — Since I last wrote you wondnnu 
things have taken place, and of course I must keep you 
au courant. 

In the first place Mr. Sydney came back to our horizon 
like a comet in a blaze of glory. The first harbinger of 
hie return was not himself in propria, but cards for a cro- 
quet fete up at Clairmont got up with the last degree of 

Mr. Sydney, it appears, understands the effect of a 
gilded frame to set off a picture, and so resolved to mani- 
fest himself to us in all his surroundings at Clairmont. 

The party was to be very select and recherchi, and of 
course everybody was just wild to go, and the Elmorea in. 
particular were on the qui vive to know if we had invita- 
tions before them. Sophie Elmore called down for notbing 
but to see. We had all the satisfaction there was to bo 
got in showing her our cards and letting her know that 
they had come two days sooner than theirs. Aunt Maria 
oontrived to give them to understand that Mr. Sydney gave 
the entertainment mostly on my account, which I think 
was assuming quite too much in the case. I am positively 
tired of these mean little rivalries and these races that are 
run between families. 

It is thought that Sophie Elmore is quite fascinated by 
Mr. Sydney, Sophie is a nice, spirited girl, with a good, 
generous heart as I believe, and it 'a a thousand pities she 
should n't have him if she caree for him. 



886 



MT WIFE AND I 



But, to my story. You may imagine the fuss at Tulle- 
gig'e. Of course, we belong to the class who live in the 
enjoyment of "nothing to wear," and the first result of a. 
projected entertainment is to throw us all on our knees 
before Tullegig, who queens it over us accordingly. 

I was just dying to find out if a certain person was to 
be there. Of late our intercourse has been bo very stately 
and diplomatic that it really becomes exciting. He has 
avoided every appearance of intimacy, every approach to 
OUT old CDiLfideutinl standing, and yet apparently for the 
life of him cannot keep from taking views of me at safe 
distance i so, as I said, it was something to see if he would 
be there. 

As to Clairmont, I think in the course of my life I have 
Been fine grounds, fine houses, fine furniture, and fine fStea 
before. Nevertheless, I must do Sydney the justice to Bay 
that he gave a most charming and beautiful entertainment, 
where everything was just as lovely as could be. We went 
up on a splendid boat to the sound of music. We had a 
magnificent lunch under the trees, and there were arrange- 
mentfi for four games to go on at once, which made a gay 
and animated tableau. All the girls wore the prettiest cos- 
tumes you can imagine, each one seeming prettier than the 
other; and when they were all moving about in the game 
it made a bright, cheerful effect. Mr. Henderson was 
there and distinguished himself to such a degree that he 
was appointed one of the four who were to play a match 
game, in conclusion, for a prize. Curiously enough he 
played with Sophie against Sydney and myself. How we 
did fight I Sophie is one of those girls that feel everything 
to the tips of their fingers, and I am another, and if we 
did n't make those men bestir themselves! I fancy they 
found women rulers were of a kind to keep men pretty 

1 imagine the excitement we women would make of 



LETTEE FROM EVA TAN ABaDEL 



367 



an election if we should ever get into politics. Would we 
not croquet our adveraarieB' balls, and make Btunning eplit- 
shots in parties, and wire ourselves artfully behind wickets, 
and do all Borta of perplexing things ) I confess if the 
excitement should get to be half as great as in playing 
croquet, I should tremble to think of it. 

Well, it wae some excitement at all events to play against 
each other, he aud I. Did n't I seek out hie ball, did n't 
X pursue it, beat it back from wickets, come on it with 
most Burpriaing and unexpected shots 1 Sophie fought 
with desperation on the other side, and at last they seemed 
to have carried the day, there was but one stroke wanting 
to put them out; they had killed Sydney at the stake and 
banished me to the farthest extremity of the ground. 
Mamma always said I had the genius for emergencies, and 
if you 'II believe me I struck quite across the ground and 
hit Sophie's ball and sent it out, and then I took his back 
to make my two last wickets with, and finally with an im- 
posing coup de thedtre I croqueted him to the other end 
of the ground, and went out amid thunders of applause. 
He took it with great presence of mind, knelt down and 
laid the mallet handsomely at my feet, and professed to 
deliver himself captive, and I imposed it on hira as a task 
to write a ballad descriptive of the encounter. So he was 
shut up for about half an hour in the library, and came out 
with a'very fine and funny ballad in Chevy Chace measure 
describing our exploits, which was read under the trees, 
and cheereil and encored in the liveliest manner possible. 

On the whole, Mr. Henderson may be said to have had 
quite a society success yesterday, as 1 heard him very much 
admired, and the Elmores overwhelmed him with pressing 
invitations to call, to come to their soirdes, etc., etc. You 
see, these Elmores have everything money can buy, and so 
they are distracted to be literary, or at least to have literary 
people in their train, and they have always been wanting 



868 



MY WIPE AND I 



to get Hendereon and Jim Fellows to their leceptionB. So 
I heard Mrs. Elmore overwhelming him with compliments 
on bis poem in a. way that quite amused me, for I knew 
enough of him to know exactly how all this seemed to him. 
He ia of all persons one of the most difficult to flatter, and 
has the keenest sense of the ridiculous; and Mrs. Elmore's 
style is as if one should empty a bushel hasket of peaches 
or grapes on your head instead of passing the fruit dish. 

But I am GO busy traducing my neighbors that I forgot 
to say I won the croquet prize, which was duly presented. 
It was a gold croquet mallet set as a pin with four balla of 
emerald, amethyst, ruby, and topaz depending from it. It 
had quite an Etruscan effect and was very pretty, hut when 
I saw how much Sophie really took the defeat to heart my 
soul was moved for her, and I made a peace-offering hj 
getting her to accept it. It was not easy at first, but I 
made a point of it and insisted upon it with all my logic, 
telling her that in point of skill she had really won the 
game, that my last stroke was only a lucky accident, and 
you know I can generally talk people into almost anything 
I set my heart on, and so as Sophie was flattered by my 
estimate of her skill, and as the bauble is a pretty one I 
prevailed on bet to take it. I am tired and sick of this 
fuss between the Elmorea and us, and don't mean to have 
more of it, for Sophie really is a nice girl, and not a bit 
more spoiled than any of the rest of us, notwithstanding 
all the nonsense of her family, and she and I have agreed 
to W fast friends for the future whatever may come. 

I had one other motive in this move. I never have 
accepted jeweby from Sydney, and 1 was quite willing to 
be rid of this. If I could only croquet his heart down to 
Sophie to use, it might be a nice thing. I fancy she would 
like it. 

I managed my cards quite adroitly all day to avoid a 
tite-h-t&te interview with Sydney. I was careful &lwaye 



LETTER FROM ETA VAN AltBDEL 869 

to be in the centre of a group of two or tiiree, and when 
he aaked me to walk through the conservatories with him 
I said, "Come, Susan and Jane," and took them along. 

As to somebody else, he made no attempt of the kind, 
though I could see that he saw me wherever I went. Do 
these creatures suppose we don't see their eyes, and fancy 
that they conceal their feelings ! I am perfectly certain 
that whatever the matter is, he thinks as much of me aa 
ever he did. 

Wei], it waa moonlight and mueio all the way home, 
the band playing the most heart-breaking, entrancing har- 
monies from Beethoven and melodies from Schubert, and 
then Wat Sydney annoyed me beyond measure by keeping 
up a distracting chit-chat when I wanted to be quiet and 
listen. He carea nothing for music, and people who don't 
are like flies, they have no mercy and never will leave 
you a quiet moment. The other one went off by himseU, 
gazed at the mooa and heard the music all in the most 
proper and romantic style, and looked like a handsome 
tenor at an opera. 

So far, my dear, the history of our affairs. But some- 
thing more surprising than ever you heard has Just hap- 
pened, and I must hasten to jot it down. . 

Yesterday afternoon, being worried and wearied with the 
day before, I left your letter, as you see, and teased Ida 
to go out driving with me in the Park. She had promised 
Effie St. Clere to sketch some patterns of arbors and gar- 
den seats that are there, for her new place at Fern Valley, 
and I had resolved on a lonely ramble to clear my heart 
and brain. Moreover, the last time I was there I aaw 
from one of the bridges a very pretty cascade falling into 
a charming little wooded lake in the distance. I resolved 
to go in search of this same cascade which is deep in a 
shady labyrinth of paths. 



870 KT wm AlTD I 

Well, it was a moat lovely perfect da;, and ve left onx 
carriage at the terrace and started off for our ramble, Ida 
with her sketch-book ia hand. She vas very booh bard 
at work at a rustic summer-bouse, while I plunged into a 
woody tangle of paths guided only by the distant sound of 
the cascades. It was toward evening and the paths seemed 
quite solitary, for I met not a. creature. I might really 
have thought I was among the ferns and white birches np 
in Conway, or anywhere in the mountains, it waa so per- 
fectly moBsy and wild and soiitary, A flock of wild geese 
seemed to be making an odd sort of outlandish noise, far 
in a deep, dark tangle of bushes, and it appeared to me to 
produce the impression of ntter solitude more than any- 
thing else. Evidently it was a sort o( wild lair seldom 
invaded. I still heard the noise of the cascade through a 
thicket of leaves, hut could not get a sight of it. Some- 
times it seemed near and sometimes far off, but at last I 
thought I hit upon a winding path that seemed to promise 
to take me to it. It wound round a declivity, and I could 
tell hy the sound I was approaching the water. I was 
quite animated, and ran forward till a sudden turn brought 
me to the head of the cascade where there was a railing 
and one seat, and as I came running down I saw suddenly 
a man with a book in his hand sitting on this seat, and it 
was Mr. Henderson. 

He rose up when he saw me and looked pale, but an 
expression of perfectly rapturous delight passed over his 
face as I checked myself astonished. 

"Miss Van Arsdel!" he said. "To what happy fate 
do I owe this good fortune 1 " 

I recovered myself and said that "I was not aware of 
any particular good fortune in the case." 

"Not to you, perhaps," he said, "but to me, I have 
seen nothing of you for so long, " he added rather piteously. 

"There has been nothing that I am aware of to prevent 




.ETTEE FBOM EVA VAN ARBDEL 



371 



your seeing me," I said. "If Mr. Henderson chooeea to 
make himself strange to his friends it is his own affair." 
He looked confused and muTmured sometlilng about "many 
engagemente and bufiinees." 

"Mr, Henderson, you will excuse me," said I, resolved 
not to have this sort of thing go on any longer. "You 
have always been treated at our house as an intimate and 
valued friend; of late you seem to prefer to act like a cere- 
monious stranger." 

"Indeed, you mistake me entirely. Miss Van Arsdel," 
he said eagerly. "You must know my feelings; you 
7iMist appreciate my reasons; you see why I cannot and 
ought not." 

"I am quite in the dark as to both," I said. "I cannot 
see any reason why we should not be on the old footing, 
I am sure. You have acted of late as if you were afraid 
to meet me; it is all perfectly unaccountable to me. Why 
should you do so J What reason can there be ) " 

"Because," he said, with a sort of desperation, "because 
I love you, Miss Van Arsdel. Because I alw^s shall love 
you too well to associate with you as the wife or betrothed 
bride of another man," 

"There is no occasion you should, Mr. Henderson. I 
am not, so far as I understand, either wife or betrothed to 
any man," I said. 

He looked perfectly thunderstruck. 

"Yet I heard it from the best authority." 

"From what authority t " said I, "for I deny it." 

"Your mother." 

"My mother 1 " I was thunderstruck in my turn; here 
it was, to be sure. Poor mamma! I saw through the 
whole mystery. 

"Your mother told me," he went on, "that there was a 
tacit engagement which woa to be declared on Mr. Sydney's 
return, and cautioned me against an undue intimacy." 




MY WIFB AND I 

"My mother," I said, "has done her utmost to pe> 
Buade ma to this engagement. I refused Mr. Sydney out 
and out in the beginning. She persuaded me to allow him 
to continue his attentions in hope of changing my mind, 
but it never has changed," 

He grew agitated and spoke very quickly, 

" Oh, tell me, Miss Van Aredel, if / may hope for suc- 
cess in making the same effort 1 " 

"I shouldn't be surprised if you might," said I, 

There followed a sort of electric flash and a confusion of 
wild words after this — really, my dear, I cannot rememhei 
half what he said — only the next I knew, somehow, ve 
were walking arm in arm together. 

What a talk we had, and what a walk up and down 
those tangled alleys ! going over everything and explaining 
everything. It was a bright long twilight, and the great 
silver moon rose upon us while yet we were talking. After 
a while I heard Ida calling up and down the paths for me. 
She came up and met us with her sketch-book under her 

"Ida, we 're engaged, Harry and I," I said. 

"So I thought," she said, looking at us kindly and 
stretching out both hands. 

I took one and he the other. 

" I>o you think I have any chance with your parents 1 " 
asked Harry. 

"I think," said Ida, "that you will find trouble at first, 
but you may rely on Eva, she will never change ; but wb 
must go home. " 

"Yee," said I, "it would not do to introduce the matter 
by getting up a domestic alarm and sending a party to drag 
the lake for us; we must drive home in a peaceable, orderly 
manner," and so, it being agreed among us that I should 
try my diplomatic powers on mamma lirst, and 
should speak to papa afterward, we drove home. 



Hbe^H 



LETTER FKOU EVA VAN ARSDEL 



373 



Well, now, Belie, it iB all over — the mystery, I mean; 
and the etruggle with the powers, that hids to begin. How 
odd it is that marriage, which is a thing of all others most 
personal and individual, is a thing where all your friends 
want you to act to please them I 

Mamma probably in her day felt toward papa juet ae I 
feel, but I am sure she will be drowned in despair that I 
cannot see Wat Sydney with her eyes, and that I do choose 
to Bee Harry with mine. But it isn't mamma that is to 
live with him, it is I ; it is my fearful venture for life, 
not hers, I am to give the right to have and to hold 
ms till life's end. When I think of that I wonder I am 
not afraid to risk it with any man, but with him I am not. 
I know him so intimately and trust him so entirely. 

What a laugh I gave him last night, telling him how 
foolishly he had acted ; he likea to have me take him off, 
and seemed perfectly astoniBhed that I had had the per- 
spicacity to read hia feelings, Theae men, my dear, have 
a kind of innocent stupidity in matters of this kind that ia 
refreshing ! 

Well, if I am not mistaken, there was one bliBsful in- 
dividual sent home in New York last night, notwithstand- 
ing the terrors of the "atem parents " that are yet to be 
encountered. 

Well, my dear Belle, you see I 
I always told you that I would let 
\ engaged, the very first of any one. 
You may make the most of it and 



How I do chatter c 
have kept my word, 
you know when I w 
and now here it is, 
tell whom you please, for I shall d 
firm as Ben Lomond, 

Ever your loving 



la 




f the aftoraoou after the croquet party Aunt 1 
Wouvermans and Mrs. Van Aradel, withdrawn to the most 
confidential recesB of the house, held mysterious counciL 

"Well, Nelly," said Aunt Maria, "how did you thint 
thingH looked yesterday t " 

"I thought a crisis was impending, hut aft«r all nothing 
came. But you see, Maria," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, "that 
girl! she is the most peculiar creature. She wouldn't give 
him the least chance; she just held herself away from him. 
Two or three times I tried to arrange that they should be 
alone together, hut she wouldn't. She would keep Susan 
and Jane Seaton at her elbow as if they had been glued to 
her.*' 

"It was so provoking," said Aunt Maria, "beeauee all 
the Elmores were there watching and whispering. Those 
Elmores are in such an elated state on account of the wed- 
ding in their family. You 'd really think it iraa a royal 
marriage at the very least; and they whisper about and 
taUc as if we had been trying to catch Sydney and couldn't; 
that 'b what provokes me ! They were all on tiptoe watching 
every turn, and I did long to be able to come down on 
them with an announcement! What aila Eva) Of course 
she must mean to have him; no girl at her age would be 
fool enough to refuse such an offer; you see she 's thiee- 
and- twenty. " 

"Well, if you '11 believe me, Eva actually went and gave 
that croquet pin Sydney gave her to Sophie Elmoiel I 



DOiTESTIC CONSULTATIONS 



375 



overheard her urging it on her, and be overheard it too, 
and I know he didn't like it; it was eo very marked a 
thing, you see I " 

"Eva gave that pin to Sophie EUnorel The girl is 
crazy. She is too provoking for anything! I can't think 
what it is, Nelly, makes your girls so singular." 

Mrs. Wouvermans, it will appear, was one of that very 
common class of good people who improve every opportu- 
nity to show how very senseless their neighhora are com- 
pared with themselves. The sole and only reason, as 
might he gathered from her remarks, why anything dis- 
Bgreeahle happened to anybody was because they did not 
do, or had not done, just as she should have done in their 
circumBtances. 

!Now Mrs. Van Aredel, though conceding in general that 
sister Maria was stronger and brighter than herself, was 
somewhat rebellious under the process of having it insisted 
in detail that every unfortunate turn of affairs was her 
fault, and so she answered with some spirit: — 

"I don't see that my girls are any more singular than 
other people's. Very few mothers have brought up nicer 
girls than mine. Everybody says so." 

"And I say, Nelly, they are peculiar," insisted Mrs, 
Wouvermans. "There 's Ida going off at her tangent I and 
Miss Eval Well! one thing, it isn't my fault. I've 
done the very best I could in instructing them ! It must 
come from the Van Arsdel side of the house. I 'm sare in 
our family girls never made so much trouble. We all grew 
up sensible, and took the very best offer we had, and were 
married and went about our duties without any fuss. 
Though, of course, we never had a chance like this." 

"Now, I shouldn't wonder in the least," said Mrs. Van 
Arsdel, " if Sydney should fly off to Sophie Elmore. It 'a 
evident that she is perfectly infatuated with him I and you 
know men's hearts are caught on the rebound very often." 



376 



IfT WIFE AKD I 



"Oh yes," Baid Aunt Maris, "I ahouldn't wonder, juBt 

B8 Jerrold Macy flew off to Blanche Sinclair, when Edith 
Enderly coquetted ho with him. He nHver would have 
gone to Blauche in the world if Edith had not thrown him 
off. Edith was sorry enough afterward when it was too 
late to help it." 

"I declare," aaid Mrs. Van Aradel, "one never knows 
what trouble is till one has girls at the marrying age! " 

"It's all your own fault," said Aunt Maria, "you in- 
dulge them too much. For my part," she continued, "I 
lite the French way of arranging these things. It ought 
not to be left to the choice of a young silly girl. The 
parents ought to arrange for her, and then the thing is set- 
tled without any trouble. Of course people of experience 
in mature life can choose better for a girl than she can 
choose for herself 1 Our girls in America have too much 
liberty. If I had daughters to bring up I should bring 
them up so that they would never think of disputing what 
I told them." 

"So you are always saying, Maria," said Mrs. Van 
Arsdel; "it 'a quite safe to asy what you '11 do when you 
have n't any, but it 'a very provoking to me. I only wish 
you bad Ida and Eva to manage." 

"I oidy wish I had!" aaid Aunt Maria. "I should 
have had them both well married by this time. There 
shouldn't be any of this kind of nonsense that you allow, 
I 'd set down my foot. I wouldn't have it. My daugh- 
ters should obey me. You let them make a perfect noaa- 
of-wax of you. They treat you in any way they please," 

"You always think bo much of yourself, Maria, and 
whatever happens you turn round and blame me. I wish 
to mercy you 'd had children, and then you 'd seel Feopla 
who have n't are always delighted with themselves and 
always criticising people who have. If you had a family 
of children to manage they 'd soon bring you down." 



DOMESTfO CONSULTATIONB 



377 



11 '11 just see, 
, that's all," 
is a gone case now, and Eva is oi 
that are so difficult and romantic 



"Well, Nelly, yoi: 
maids on your h 



you'll have a lot of old 
said Aunt Maria. "Ida 
I the certain road. Girla 
lud can't tell their own 



mind are sure to make old maids at last. There was Ellen 
Gilliflower, and Jane Seabright, they might both have had 
houses and horaes and carriages of their own if they had 
taken offers when they could get them." 

"You know poor Jane lost her lover." 

"To be sure. Well, he was dead, wasn't he! and she 
could o't marry him, but was that any reason why she 
never should marry anybody ? There was John Smithson 
would have put her at the head of one of the best establish- 
ments about New York, and she might have had her own 
coup^ and horses just as Mrs. Smithson does now. It's 
all this ridiculous idea about loving. Why, girls can love 
anybody they 've a mind to, and if I had a daughter she 
should." 

"Oh! I don't know, Maria," said Mrs. Van Aradel. 
"I think it ie a pietty serious thing to force a daughter's 
ftffeetiona." 

"Fiddlestick upon affections, Nelly; don't you begin to 
talk. It makes me perfectly sick to hear the twaddle 
about it. People in good circumstance's always like each 
other well enough, and any girl can get along with any 
man that puts her in a good position and takes good care 
of her. If Ida had been made to marry a good man when 
she first came out of school she never would have gone off 
at all these tangents, and she 'd have been a contented 
woman, and so would Eva. She ought to be made to 
marry Wat Sydney; it is a tempting of Providence to let 
the thing drag on so. Now, if Sydney was like Sim Riv- 
ington, I wouldn't say a word, I think Polly's conduct 
IB perfectly abominable, and if Sim goes on getting drank 
end raises a hell upon earth at home, Polly may just have 



HT WIFE AND 1 

herself to thank for it, for ehe was told all about hint. 
She did it with her eyea open, but Eva's case ie different." 

At this moment the door-bell tang, and the waiter 
brought in a letter on a silver salver. Both ladies pounced 
upon it, and Aunt Maria, saying, "It 'a to yon, from Syd- 
ney," eagerly broke it open and began reading. 

"I should think, siater," said Mra. Van Arsdel, in an 
injured tone, "I might be allowed the first reading of my 
own letters." 

"Oh, pshaw, don't be so peevish," said Aunt Wwria, 
pushing it petulantly toward hei. "If you don't want me 
to take ajiy interest in your affairs I 'm sure I don't see 
why I should. I '11 go, and you may manage them yoai- 
self." 

"But, Maria," said poor Mrs. Van Arsdel apologeti- 
cally, "one naturally has the wiah to see one's own letten 
first." 

"Well, mercy on us, child, don't be in a passion about 
it," said Aunt Maria; "you've got your letter, haven't 
you 1 Do read it, and you '11 see it 'b just as I thought. 
That girl has offended him with her airs and graces, and 
he is just on the point of giving her up." 

"But, you see, he says that he still desires to propose 
to her," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, reading, "only that as her 
manner to him is so marked he does not wish to expose 
liimself to another refusal." 

"Well," said Aunt Maria, "now you see, Nelly, after 
dll, that letter leaves the game in Eva's own hands. If 
now she will behave herself and let you invite him to an 
interview and treat him properly, it can all be settled. 
The letter, in fact, amounts to a proposal in form. Now, 
Nelly, that girl must be made to behave herself. I wish 
I could put some pluck into you; you must be decided 
with her. " 

"It'a of no USB, sister, you don't know Eva. She's 



DOMESTIC CONSULTATIONS 



379 



an easy child to be coaxed, but she has a terrible will of 
her own. The only way to manage her is through her 
affections. I can't beai to ctobs her, foi she always was 
a good child. " 

"Well, then, tell her just how critical the state of the 
family is. She may have it in her power to save her father 
from failure. It may be just life or death with ua all. 
Put it to her strongly. It would be a pretty thing, in- 
deed, if instead of being niiatress of Clairmont and that 
place at Kewport, we should all be driven to take second- 
rate houses and live like nobodies, just for her foolish 
fancies. You ought to frighten her, Nelly. Set it out 
strongly. Appeal to her affections." 

"Well, I shall do my best," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. 

"Where is she! let me talk with her," said Aunt Maria. 

"She and Ida are both gone driving in the Park thia 
afternoon, but after all, sister, I think / had best manage 
it. I think I understand Eva better than you do. She 
would do more for me than for anybody, I think, for the 
child is very affectionate." 

"There can't be anybody else in the case, can thereT" 
said Aunt Maria. "I began to think it rather imprudent 
to have that Henderson round so much, but of late he 
seems to have stopped coming." 

"I flatter myself I managed Aim," said Mrs. Van Ars- 
del, with complacency, " I gave him a little motherly admo- 
nition that had a wonderful effect. After all, it was a duty 
I owed to him, poor youth! Eva is wonderfully fascinat- 
ing, and I could see he was getting too much interested in 
her. I have a regard for him. He ia a nice fellow." 

"I intended to have him take Ida," said Aunt Maria. 
"That would have been the proper thing to do." 

"Well, Maria, I should think you might have foond oat 
by this time that everybody in the world is n't going to 
walk in the ways you mark out for them. " 



380 MY WIFE AND I 

"It would be better for them if they would, '^ said Aunt 
Maria. " If I had had the bringing up of your children 
from the beginning, Nelly, and you had never interfered, 
I think you would have seen results that you never will 
see now. It seems mysterious that Providence should n't 
send children to those best fitted to bring them up. Well, 
you must do the best you can. What time is it ? Dear 
me, it is almost dinner-time and I have a new table girl 
to-day. I expect she '11 have everything topsyturvy. I *11 
call round to-morrow to see how things come on.'' 



CHAPTER XXXV 



WEALTH VEESUS LOVE 

Eva Van Arsdel was seated in her apartment in all 
that tremulous flush of happiness and hope, that confusion 
of feeling, which a young giil experiences when she thinks 
that the great crisis of her life has been passed, and her 
destinj happily decided. 

"Yes, yes," she said to herself, "I like him, I like him; 
and I am going to like him, no matter what mamma, or 
Aunt MaiJR, or all the world say. I '11 stand by him 
thiDugh life and death." 

At this moment her mother came into the r 

"Dear me! Eva, child, not gone to bed yet! Why, 
what's the matter? bow flushed your cheeks are! Why, 
you look really feverish." 

"Do II" said Eva, hardly knowing what ehe was say- 
ing. "Well, I suppose that is becoming, at any rate." 

"Aren't you welll" said her mother. "Does your 
head ache ! " 

"Weill certainly, nicely; never better, mamma dear," 
said Eva caressingly, coming and seating herself on her 
mother's knee, and putting her arm around her neck — 
"never better, laother." 

"Well, Eva, then I am glad of it. I just wanted a few 
minutes alone with you to-night, I have got something 
to tell you " — and she drew a letter from her pocket. 
"Here 'a tbia letter from Mr. Sydney; I want to read you 
something from it." 

"Oh dear, mamma! what 'a the uael Don't you think 
it rather stupid, reading letters! " 



i 



"My dear child, Mr. Sydney is such a t;ood man, and 
HO devoted to you." 

"I haveu't the teaet objection, mamma, to his being a 
good man. Long may he be bo. But as to his being de- 
voted to me, I am eorry for it." 

"At least, Eva, just read this letter — there 's a dear; 
and I am sure you must see how like a gentleman he 
writes. " , 

Eva took the letter from her mother's hand and ran it 
over hurriedly. 

"All no use, mamma, dear," she said, when she had 
done, "It won't hurt him. He'll get over this just as 
people do with the chicken-pox. The fact is, mamma, 
Mr. Sydney ia a man that can't bear to be balked in any- 
thing that he baa once undertaken to do. It is not that he 
loves me so very dreadfully, but he has set out to have 
me. If he could have got me, ten to one he would have 
tired of me before now. You know he said that he never 
cared anything about a girl that be knew he could have. 
It is simply and only because I have kept myself out of 
his way and been hard to get that he wants me. If he 
once had me for a wife, I should be all well enough, bat 
I should he ffot, and he 'd be off after the next thing he 
could. not get, That 's just his nature, mamma." 

"But, Eva dear, such a fine man as he is." 

"I do not see that he is so very fine." 

"But, Eva, only took at the young men that girls marry 1 
Why, there's that young Ilivington; he's drunk three 
nighta in a week, so they tell me. And there are worse 
stories than that about him. He has been bad in every 
kind of way that a man could be bad. And yet, Polly 
Elmore ia perfectly crazy with delight to have her daughtei 
get him. And here's Wat Sydney, who, everybody says, 
ia always perfectly sober and correct." 

" Well, mamma dear, if it is only a sober, correct man 



WEAXTH VEHSUa LOTB 

tliat you want me to have, there's that Mr. Henderson, 
jtist HB sober and correct, and a great deal more cultivated 
and agreeable," 

"How absurd of you, my danghtert Mi. HeudeisoB 
has not anything to support a wife on. He is a good 
moral young man, I admit, and agreeable, and has talent 
and all that; but, my dear Eva, you are not fitted to con- 
tflnd with poverty. You must marry a man that can sup- 
port you in the position that you have always been in." 

"Whether I love him or not, mammal" 

"My dear Eva, you would, of courae, love your hus- 
band. A man that is able to take care of you and get you 
everything that you want — give you every wish of your 
heart — you would love of courae." 

"Well, mamma, I have got a man that does exactly that 
for me, now," said Eva, "and I don't need another. 
That 'a just what papa does for me. And now, when I 
marry, I want a companion that suits me. I have got now 
all thfl bracelets, and jewelry, and finger-rings that I can 
think of; and if I wanted forty more I could tease them 
out of papa any day, or kiss them out of him. Fa always 
gets me everything I want; so I don't see what I want of 
Mr. Sydney." 

"Well, now, my dear Eva, I must apeak to you seri- 
ously. You are old enough now not to be talked to like 
a child. The fact is, my darling, there is nothing ho inse- 
cure as our life here. Your father, my love, is reported 
to be a great deal richer than he is. Of course we have to 
keep up the idea, because it helps his business. But the 
last two or three years he has met with terrible losses, and 
I have seen him sometimes so nervous about our family 
expenditures that, really, there was no comfort in life. 
But, then, we had this match in view. We supposed, of 
course, that it was coming off. And such a splendid set- 
tlemeot on you would help the family every way. Mt 



f 



384 MT WIFE AND I 

Sydney is a very generous man; and the use of his capital, 
the credit that the marriage would give to youi father in 
business circles, would be inunenae. And then, my child, 
juat think of the estabtishruent you would have 1 Why, 
there is not such an eetablishment in the country as his 
place on the North River! You saw it yesterday. What 
could you ask more 1 And there is that villa at Newport 
You might be there in the summer, and have all your Bi»- 
tere there. And he ia a man of the most splendid taste as 
to equipages and furniture, and everything of that sort. 
And, as I said before, be is a good man." 

"But, mamma, mamma, it will never do. Not if he 
had the East and West Indies. All that can't buy your 
little Eva. Tell me, now, mamma, dear, was pa a rich 
man when you married him — I mean when you fell in 
love with him!" 

"Well, no, dear, not very; though people always said 
that he was a man that would rise." 

"But you didn't begin in a house like this, mamma. 
You began at the beginning and helped him up, didn't 

yout" 

"Well, yes, dear, we did begin in a quiet way; and I 
had to live pretty carefully the first years of my life ; and 
worked hard, and know all about it; and I want to save 
you from going through the same that I did." 

"Maybe if jou did I should not turn out aa you are 
now. But really, mother, if pa is embarrassed, why do 
we live soT Why don't we economize? I am sure I am 
willing to." 

"Oh, darling! we mustn't. We mustn't make any 
change; because, if the idea should once get running that 
there is any difficulty about money, everybody would ba 
down on your father. We have to keep everything going, 
and everything up, or else things would go abroad that 
would injure hia credit; and he could not get money fgc 



i 



WEALTH VERSUS LOVE 385 

his operations. He is engaged in great operations now 
that will bring in millions if they succeed." 

"And if they don't succeed," said Eva, "then I Buppose 
that we shall lose milUoos — is that it 1 " 

"Well, dear, it is just as I tell you, we rich people live 
on a very uncertain eminence, and for that reason I wanted 
to see my darling daughter settled securely," 

"Well, mamma, now I wUl tell you what I have been 
thinking of. Since ' riches make to themaelves wings and 
fly ftway,' what is the sense of marrying a man whose main 
recommendation is that he is richl Because that is the 
thing that makes Mr. Sydney more, for instance, than Mi, 
HendeiBou, or any other nice gentleman we know. Now 
what if I should marry Mr. Sydney, who, to say the truth, 
dear mamma, I do not fancy, and who is rather tiresome 
to me — and then some fine morning hia banks should fail, 
his railroads hurst up, and his place on the North Kiver 
and his villa at Newport have to be sold, and he and I 
have to take a little unfashionable house together, and 
rough it — what then) Why, then, when it came to that, 
I should wish that I had chosen a more entertaining com- 
panion. For there isn't a thing that I am interested in 
that I can talk with him about. You see, dear mother, 
we have to take it 'for better or for worse; ' and as there 
ia always danger that the wheel may turn, hy and by it 
may come so that we '11 have nothing hut the man himself 
left. It seems to me that we should choose out man with 
great care. He should be like the pearl of great price, the 
Bible speaks of, for whom we would be glad to sell every- 
thing. It should be somebody we could he happy with Jl 
we lost all beside. And when I marry, mother, it will be 
with a man that I feel is all that to me." 

"Well, Eva dear, where '11 you find such a mani " 

"What if I had found him, mother — or thought I 
hadl" 



i 



886 MY wnrs and i 

" What do you mean, child ! " 

" Mother, I have found the man that I love, and he 
loves me, and we are engaged." 

" Eva, child ! I would not have thought this of you. 
Why have n't you told nie before ? " 

"Because, mamma, it wob only this afternoon that I 
found out that he loved me and wanted me to be his wife." 

"And may I presume to aek now who it is! " said Mrs. 
Van Aradel in a tone of pique. 

"Dear mother, it is Harry Henderson." 

"Mr. Henderson! Well, I do think that is too dishon- 
orable; when I told him your relations with Mr. Sydney." 

"Mother, you gave him to understand that I was en- 
gaged to Mr. Sydney, and I told him this afternoon, that 
I was not, and never would be. He was honorable. After 
you had that conversation with him he avoided our houM 
a long time, and avoided me. I was wretched about it, 
and he was wretched; but this afternoon we met acciden- 
tally in the Park ; and I insisted on knowing from him 
why he avoided us so. And, at last, I found out all ; 
and he found out all. We understand each other perfectly 
now, and nothing can ever come between ua. Mother, I 
would go with him to the ends of the earth. There is 
nothing that I do not feel able to do or suffer for him. 
And I am glad and proud of myself to know that I can 
love him as I do." 

"Oh well, poor child I I do not know what we shall 
do," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, with profound dejection. 

"Deary mother, I will do everything I can to help you, 
and everything I can to help papa. I do not believe there 
IB one of us children that would not. And I think it is 
true, what Ida ia always telling us, that it would be a great 
deal better for us if we bad leas, and had to depend on 
ourselves and use our own faculties more. There are the 
boys in college ; there is no need of their having spendii^ 



WEALTH VERSUS LOVE 



387 



money as they do. And I know if papa would tell them 
of his difRculties it would make men of them, juet as' it 
would make a woman of me. " 

"Well, I do not know," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. "Tour 
fatter has not told me of any particular embarrassments, 
only I see he is anxious and nervoue, and I know him so 
well that I always know when his affairs trouble him. 
And this is a great blow to me, Eva." 

• "Well, dear mother, I am very sorry it is aoj but I 
cannot help it. It would be wicked for me, mother, to 
marry any other man when I love Harry as I do. Love 
is not a glove that you can take off as you please, It is 
something very different. Now, with him, I never felt 
tired. I always like to be with him; I always like to 
talk with him; he never makes me nervous; I never wish 
he was gone; he can always understand me, and I can un- 
derstand him. We can almost tell what the other is think- 
ing of without speaking. And I will risk our not being 
happy together. So please do, dear mother, look a little 
cheerful about it. Let me be happy in my own way." 

"Well, I suppose I must," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, with 
a deep sigh, taking up the lamp. " You always did have 
your own way, Eva. " 

"Oh, well, mother dear, some day you 'II be glad of it. 
Good-night" 




CHAPTER XXXVI 



FUBTHEB GOBBULTATIOirH 

Atter the departure of her mother, Era in vHin tiled 
to compose herself to sleep. Her cheeks were flushed, and 
hei brain was in a complete whirl. Her mother had aaid 
and hinted just enough about the financial condition of the 
family to fill her with vague alarms. She walked uneasily 
up and down her lusuiioua chamber, all whose appointments 
spoke of wealth and taste; and it was with an unpleaaant 
feeling of insecurity that she regarded the pictures and 
statues and sofas, and all the charming arrangements, in 
perfecting which her father had always allowed her carte 
blanche aa to money. She reflected uneasily that in mak- 
ing all these expensive arrangements she had ordered aim. 
ply what pleased her fancy, without inquiry aa to price, 
and without ever glancing over a bill to know the result; 
and now, she found herself affianced to a young man with- 
out any other resources than those which must come from 
the exertion of hia talents, seconded by prudence and econ- 
omy. And here, again, offered to her acceptance, was an- 
other marriage, which would afl"ord her the means of grati- 
fying every taste, and of continuing to live in all thoee 
habits of easy luxury and careless expenses that ahe could 
not but feel were very agreeable to her. Not for one 
moment did she feel an inclination, or a temptation, to 
purchase that luxury, and that ease, by the sale of herself; 
but still, when she thought of her lover — of the difficul- 
ties that he must neceeaarily meet, of the cares which she 
must bring upon him — she asked herself, "Was it not aa 



FURTHER 0ON8UXTATIONS 889 

act of injuatioe to him to burden him with so incapable and 
helpless a wife as she feared aha should prove 1 " 

"But I am not incapable," sbe said to herself, "and I 
will not be helpless. I hawe strength in me, and I will 
use iti I will show that I am good for something. I won- 
der if it is true that papa is embanaseed. If he is, I wish 
he would truat us; I wish he would tell ua at once, and 
let ua help him economize. I would do itj I am sure we 
all would do it." 

It was in vain, under the pressure of these thoughts, to 
try to compose herself to sleep; and, at last, she passed 
into her sister Ida's room, who, with her usual systematic 
regularity as to hours, had for s. long time been in the 
enjoyment of quiet slumber. 

"Ida, dear I" she said, stooping over and speaking to 
her sister, "Ida, look herel" 

Ida opened her eyes and sat up in bed. "Why, Eva, 
child! not gone to bed yetl What is the matter with 
youl You will certainly ruin your health with these ir- 
regular hours. " 

~ " ■ I am sorry 

; but, indeed, I want to talk to you about 
; and you know you are always 
a morning." 

" Well, dear, what is it 1 " aaid Ida, stroking her head. 

" Do you know, mamma baa juat been into my room 
with a letter from Mr. Sydney. He is coming into the 
field again, and has written to mamma, and mamma haa 
been in talking to me till I am juat ready to cry. Now, 
Ida, you know all that took place between Mr. Henderson 
and me yesterday in the Park; we are engaged, are we not, 
as much aa two people can be ! " 

"Certainly you are," aaid Ida decisively. 

"Well now, mamma is so distressed and disappointed." 

** You told her about it, then! " aaid Ida. 



"Oh, Ida, I £ 
to disturb you; 
something that n 
gone before I a 



MO MY WIFZ AND I 

"Certftinly; yea, I told her all about it; and oh, Ida! 

what da you think 1 mamma really made me feel as if 
something dreadful was goiug to happen in the family, that 
papa was getting embarrassed' in his busiuesB, and perhaps 
we might all fail and come to ruin if I did not help him by 
marrying Mr. Sydney. Now, do you think it would be 
right for mel It certainly cannot be my duty! " 

"Ask yourself that question," said Ida; "think what 
you must promise aud vow in marriage." 

"To be sure! and how wicked it would be to promiae 
and vow all that to one man when I know that I love an- 
other one better! " 

"Then," said Ida, "asking a woman to take false mar- 
riage vows to save her family, or her parents from trouble, 
is just like asking her to steal money, or forge a false note 
to save them, Eva, you cannot do it." 

"Well," said Eva, "that is what I told manuna. But, 
Ida dear, is it really true, do you think, that papa ia trou- 
bled in hia buainessl " 

"Papa is not a man that would apeak freely to any 
woman on business matters," said Ida, "not ejen tome; 
but I know that his liabilities and ventures are terrific; and 
nothing would surprise me less than to have tbia whole 
air-castle that we have been living in dissolve like a morn- 
ing mist, and let us down on the pavement. All 1 have 
to say is, that if it comes it is just what I have been pre- 
paring for all my life. I have absolutely refused to be 
made such a helpless doll aa young giris in our position 
commonly are. I have determined that I would keep my 
faculties bright, and my bodily health tirm and strong; and 
that all these luxuries should not become a necessity to me, 
Eo but what I could take care of myself, and take care of 
others, without them. And all I have to say is, if a crash 
comes it will find me ready, and it won't crush me." 

"But, Ida, don't you think it would be a great deal 



FURTHER CON8ULTATIOK8 391 

better if we would all begin now to economize, and live 
very differentlj 1 Why, I am sure I would be willing to 
move out of thia house, and rent it, or sell it, and live in 
a amaller one, and give up the cairiagea and horses. We 
could live a great deal cheaper and more quietly than we 
do, aad yet have everything that I eaie about. Yea, I 'd 
even rather sell the pictures — all except a few — and feel 
safe and independent, than to live in this sort of glittering, 
uncertain way, and be preesed to marry a man that I do 
not love, for the aaJte of getting out of it." 

"Well, dear," said Ida, "you never will get Aunt Maria 
to let mamma atop running this race with the Elmores till 
the last gun fires and the ahip is ready to sink; that's 
the whole of it. It is what people will say, and the 
thought of being pitied by their set, and being beaten in 
the race, that will go further than anything else. If you 
talk about any drawing in of espenaea, they say that we 
must not do anything of the sort — that it will injure 
papa's credit. Now I know enough of what things eost^ 
and what businesa estimates are, to know that we are 
spending at a tremendous rate. If we had an entailed 
estate settled upon us with an annual income of two or 
three hundred thousand doliara, there might be some sense 
in living as we do; but when all depends on the value of 
stocks that are going up to-day and down to-morrow, there 
ia never any knowing what may happen; and that is what 
I have always felt. Father made a lucky hit by investing 
in stocks that doubled, and trebled, and quadrupled in 
value; but now, there is a combination against them, and 
they are falling. I know it gives father great anxiety; 
and, aa I said before, I should not wonder in tbe least — 
nothing would surprise me leaa, than that we should have 
a great crisis one of these times." 

"Poor Harry!" said Eva, "it was tbe thought of my 
being an heiress that made him hesitate so long ; perhaps 



898 MY wiFs Am> J 

he '11 have a chaoce to take me without that obBtacIe. Ida, 
do you thiuk it would be right and just in me to let him 
take such an inefficient body as I am 1 Am I quite spoiled, 
do you think — past all redemption ? " 

"Oh, no, darling!" said Ida; "I have good hopes of 
you. In the first place, a woman that has strength of mind 
enough to be true to her love against all the pressure that 
has been brought to bear on you has strength of mind to 
do anything that may be required of her. Of course, dear, 
it will come to the piacticikl point of living in an entirely 
different style from what we now live in; and you must 
count the coat. In the first place, you must give up fash- 
ionable society altogether. You must consent, to be pitied 
and wondered at as one that has fallen out of her sphere 
and gone down in the world. All the Mrs. Grundys will 
stop calling on you; and you won't have any turnout in 
the Park; and you may have to take a small house on on 
unfashionable street, and give your mind to the business 
of calculating expenses and watching outgoes and incomes." 

"Well, now, seriously, Ida, I shouldn't mind these 
tilings a bit. I don't care a penny for Mrs, Grundy, nor 
'her works and ways. As to the little house, there '11 he 
the less care to keep it; and as to its being on an unfash- 
ionable street, what do I care for that? ^Nobody that I 
really care for would fail to come and see me, let me live 
where I would. And Harry and I just agree in our views 
of life. We are not going to live for the world, but for 
Ives and our friends. We '11 have tlie nicest little 
home, where every true friend of ours shall feel as much at 
home as we do. And don't you think, Ida, that I should 
make a good manager? Oh! I know that I could make 
a house pretty — charming — on ever so little money, just 
as I get up a spring hat, sometimes, out of odds and v-ida; 
and I quite like the idea of having it to do. Of course, 
poor papa, I don't want him to fail; and I hope he won't; 




L 



FDBTHER CONSULTATIONS 398 

but I 'm something like you, Ida, if all should go to ruin, 
I feel as if I could stand up, now that I have got Harry 
to stand up with me. We can begin quietly at first, and 
make our fortune together. I have thought of ever bo 
many things that I could do for him to help him. Do 
you know, Ida (I rather guess you 'II laugh), that I brought 
home his gloves and mended them this very evening 1 I 
told him I was going to begin to take care of him. You see, 
I '11 make it cheaper for him in a thousand ways — I know 
1 can. He never shall find me a burden, I am quite 
impatient to be able to show what I can do." 

"To begin, darling," said Ida, "one thing you must do 
is to take care of your body ; no late hours to waste your 
little brain. And ho don't you think you had better go to 
your room and go quietly to sleep V 

"Oh Ida! I am going to be bo good and so regular after 
to-night; but to-night, you know, is a kind of exception. 
Girls don't get engaged every day of their lives, and so 
you must forgive me if I do make a run upon you to-night. 
The fact is, what with my talk with Harry this afternoon, 
and with mamma to-night, and all the fuss that I see im- 
pending, my eyes are just aa wide open as they can be; 
and I don't believe I could go to sleep if I were to try. 
Oh Ida! Harry told me all about hia mother, and all 
about that handsome cousin of his, that he baa spoken of 
so many times. Do you know I used to have such worries 
of mind about that cousin ! I was perfectly sure that she 
stood in my way. And now, Ida, I have a most capital 
idea about her! She wants to go to France to study, just 
as you do ; and bow nice it would be if you could join 
company and go together," 

"It would be pleasant," said Ida, "I must confess I 
don't like the idea of being 'damsel errant,' wandering off 
entirely alone in the world; and if I leave you, darling, I 
shall want somebody to speak to. But come, my dear lit- 



894 MT WIFE AND I 

tie Pussy, you must lie down and shut your eyeSi and say 
your prayers, and try to go to sleep." 

"You darling good little doctor, you,'' aid £▼% "it is 
too bad of me to keep you up ! There, I will be good — 
see bow good I am ! Good-nigbt '' — and kissing her sister, 
she sought her own apartment. 



CHAPTER XXXVn 



HAEIXO LOVE 1 



1 ONE 8 FATHER-IN-LAW 



Life has many descents from romance to reality that 
are far from agreeable. But every exalt«d hour, and every 
channing paas^e in our mortal pilgrimage, ia a luxury that 
has to be paid for with something disagreeable. The Ger- 
man story-teller, Tieck, has a. pretty legend of a magical 
region where were marvelous golden castlea, and fountains, 
and flowers, and bright-winged elves. Jiving a life of cease- 
leaa pleasure ; hut all this was visible only to the anointed 
eyes of some favored mortal to whom was granted the 
vision. To all others this elfin country was a desolate 
wilderness. I had had given me within a day or two that 
vision of Wonderland, and wandered — scarce knowing 
whether in the body or out— -in its enchanted bowers. 
The first exhilarating joy of the moment when every mist 
rose up from the landscape of love, when there was perfect 
understanding, perfect union, perfect rest, was something 
that transfigured life. But having wandered in this blessed 
country and spoken the tongue of angels, I was now to 
return to every-day regions and try to translate its marvels 
and mysteries into the vernacular of mortals. In short, I 
was to wait upon Mr. Van Arsdel and ask of him the hand 
of hia daughter. Now however charming, with suitable 
encouragement, to make love tu a beautiful lady, making 
love to a prospective father-in-law ia quite another matter. 

Men are not as a general thing inclined to look sympa- 
thetically on other men in love with any fine woman of 
their acquaintance, and ore rather provoked than otherwise 




i 



896 MY WIFE AND I 

to have them accepted. "What any woman can see in 
that fellow ! " is a sort of standing problem. But posses- 
sors of daughters are, a fortiori^ enemies ready-made to 
every pretender to their hands. My own instincts made 
me aware of this, and I could easily fancy that bad I a 
daughter like Eva I should be ready to shoot the fellow 
Arho came to take her from me. 

Mr. Van Arsdel, it is true, had showed me, hitherto, in 
his quiet way, marked favor. He was seldom much of a 
talker, though a shrewd observer of all that was said by 
others. He had listened silently to all our discussions and 
conversations in Ida's library, and oftentimes to the read- 
ing of the articles I had subjected to the judgment of the 
ladies; sometimes, though very rarely, interposing little 
bits of common-sense criticism which showed keen good 
sense and knowledge of the world. 

Mr. Van Arsdel, like many of our merchant princes, 
had come from a rural district, and an early experience of 
the hard and frugal life of a farm. Good sense, acute ob- 
servation, an ability to take wide and clear views of men 
and things, and an incorruptible integrity, had been the 
means of his rise to his present elevation. He was a true 
American man in another respect, and that was his devo- 
tion to women. In America, where we have a clear demo- 
cracy, women hold that influence over men that is exerted 
by the aristocracy in other countries. They are something 
to be looked up to, petted, and courted. The human 
mind seems to require something of this kind. The faith 
and fealty that the middle- class Englishman has toward his 
nobility is not all snobbery. It has something of poetry 
in it — it is his romance of life. Up in those airy regions 
where walk the nobility, he is at liberty to fancy some 
higher, finer types of manhood and womanhood than he 
sees in the ordinary ways of life, and he adores the unseen 
and unknown. The American life would become vulgai 



MAKING LOVE TO ONES FATHEH-IN-LAW 



397 



and commooplace did not 
come in to supply the placi 
ity. The true democrat i 
men, but all women are by 



1 chivalrous devotion to women 
of recognized orders of nobil- 
ees no superior in rank among 
courtesy his superii 



Mr, Van Aradel had married a beauty and a belle. 
When she chose him from among a crowd of suitors he 
could scarcely believe his own eyes or ears, or help marveling 
at the wondrous grace of the choice; and, as he told her so, 
Mrs. Van Arsdel believed him, and their auhaequent life 
was arranged on that understanding. The Van Aradel house 
was an empire where women ruled, though as the queen was 
a pretty, motherly woman, her reign was easy and flowery, 

Mr. Van Aradel delighted in the combinations of buai- 
ness for its own sake. It was hia form of mental activity. 
He liked the effort, the strife, the care, the labor, the buc- 
ceaa of winning; but when money was once won he cared 
not a copper for all those forms oE luxury and show, for 
the pride, pomp, and circumstance of fashion, which were 
all in all to his wife. In hia secret heart he considered 
the greater part of the proceedings in and about hia splen- 
did establishment as a rather expensive species of humbug ; 
but then it was what the women wanted and desired, and 
he took it all quietly and without comment. I felt some- 
what nervous when I asked a private interview with him 
in Ida's library. 

"I have told mamma, Harry," whispered Eva, "and 
she is beginning to get over it." 

Mrs. Van Arsdel received me with an air of patient en- 
durance, aa if I had been the toothache or any of the other 
inevitable inflictions of life; Miss Alice was distant and 
reserved, and only Ida wae cordial. 

I found Mr. Van Aradel dry, cold, and wary, not in the 
leaat encouraging any sentimental effusion, and therefore I 
proceeded to speak to him with aa matter-of-fact directneae 
aa if the treaty related to a bag of wool 





L 



MT WIFE AND I 

" Mr. Van Aredel, I love your daughter. She has hon- 
ored me so far as to accept of my love, and I have her per- 
miBsion to ask your consent to our marriage." 

He took off hia spectacles, wiped them deliberately while 
I was speaking, and coughed dryly, 

"Mr. Henderson," he said, "I have always had a great 
respect for you so far as I knew you, but I must confess 
I don't know why I should want to give you my daughter." 

" Simply, sir, because in the or<ler of nature you must 
give her to somebody, and I have the honor to be chosen 
by her." 

"Eva could do better, her mother thinks." 

"I am aware that Miss Van Arsdel could marry a man 
with more money than I have, but nonn who would love 
het more or ba more devoted tn her happiness. Besides 
I have the honor to be the man of her choice, and perhaps 
you may be aware that Miss Eva ia a young lady of very 
decided preferences." 

He smiled dryly, and looked at me with a funny twinkle 
in his eye. 

" Eva has always been used to having her own way," he 
remarked. 

"Then, my dear sir, I must beg leave to say that the 
choice of a companion for life is a place where a lady has 
a good right to insist on her own way." 

" Well, Mr. Henderson, you may be right. But per- 
haps her parents ought to insist that she shall rot make 
an imprudent marriage." 

" Mr. Van Arsdel, I do not conceive that I am proposing 
an. imprudent marriage. I have not wealth to offer, it is 
true, but I have a reasonable prospect of being able to sup- 
port a wife and family. I have good firm health, I have 
good business habits, I have a profession whieb already 
assures me a certain income, and an influential position 
•ooiety." 



3 



MAKING LOVE TO ONE 8 FATHBR-I 

" What do you call your profession 1 " 

"Literature," I replied. 

He looked ekeptical, and I added, " Yes, Mr, Van Ars- 
del, in our day literature is a profession in which one may 
hope for both fame and money." 

" It is rather an uncertain one, is n't it 1 " said he. 

"I think not. A businesa which proposes to supply a 
great, permanent, constantly increasing demand you must 
admit to be a good one. The demand for current reading 
is just as wide and steady as any demand of our life, and 
the men who undertake to supply it have as certain a 
ness as those that undertake to supply cotton cloth or rail- 
road iron. At this day fortunes are being made in and by 
literature. " 

Mr, Van Aradel drummed on the table abatractedly. 

"Sow," said I, determined to speak in the language of 
men and things, "the case is just this; If a young u 
good, reliable habits, good health, and good principles has 
a capital of seventy thousand dollars invested in a fair 
paying buainess, has he not a prospect of supporting a 
family in comfort 1 " 

"Yes," said Mr. Van Aradel, regarding me curiously, 
"I should call that a good beginning." 

"Well," rejoined I, "my health, my education, my 
power of doing literary work are this capital. They secure 
to me for the next year an income equal to that of seventy 
thousand dollars at ten per cent. 'Now, I think a capital 
of that amount invested in a man is quite as safe as the 
same sum invested in any stocks whatevt 
me that in our country a. man who knows how to take c 
of his health is leas likely to become unproductive in in- 
come than any stock you can name." 

"There is something in that, I admit," replied Mr. Van 



" And there 's something i 



(At 



, too, papa," said Eva, 



HY WIFE AKD I 

who entered at thu moment and could not reeist her deeire 
to dip her oar in the current of conversation, " and that is, 
that an investment that you have got to take for better or 
'worse, aud can't sell or get rid of all your life, bad better 
be made in something you are sure jou will like." 

"And are you sure of that in this case, Puseyl" said 
her father, pinching her cheek. 

"Tolerably, as men go. Mr. Henderson is the least 
tiresome man of my acquaintance, and you know, papa, 
it's time I took somebody; you don't want lue to go into 
a convent, do joul" 

"How about poor Mr, Sydney T" 

"Poor Mr, Sydney has just called, and I have invited 
him to a private audience and convinced bim that I am 
not in the least the person to make him happy; and he is 
one of the sort that feel that it is of the last importance 
that he should he made happy," 

"Well, well! Mr. Henderson, I presume you have 
seen, in the course of your obaervationn, that this ia one of 
the houses where the women rule. You and Eva will have 
to settle it with her mother." 

"Then I am to understand," exclaimed I, "that, as far 
BB you are concerned " — 

"I submit," said Mr. Van ArsdeL 

"The ayes have it, then," said Eva. 

"I 'm not so sure of that, young lady," said Sb. Van 
Arsdel, "if I may judge by the way your mother lamented 
to me last night," 

" Oh, that 's alt Aunt Maria I You see, papa, tbia ia an 
age of revolution, and there 'b going to be a revolution in 
the Aunt Maria dynasty in our house. She has governed 
mamma and all the rest of ua long enough, and now she 
must go down and I must rule. Harry and I are going to 
start a new era and have things all our own way. I'm 
going to crown him King, and he then will crown me 



MAKING LOVE TO ONE'S EATHEB-IN-LAW 401 

Queen, and then we shall proceed to rule and reign in our 
own dominions, and Aunt Maria, and Mrs. Grundy, and 
all the rest of them may help themaelTes; they can't hin- 



der ua. We shall be happy ij 
suiting them." 

"Well, well!" said Mr. Yai 
amused eye a pirouette Eva e 
her speech, "you young folks a 

"Yes, papa, I am ' The woiu 



r own way, without con- 



1 Arsdel, following with an 
executed at the conclusion of 
B venturesome." 
in who dared, ' " said Eva. 
' Nothing venture, nothing have,' " quoted I. 

"Eva knowa no more about managing money than a this 
year's robin," said her father. 

"Yet this year's robins know how to build reBpectable 
nests when their time comes," said ehe. "They don't 
bother about investments and stocks and all those thinga, 
but sing and have a good time. It all cornea right for 
them, and I don't douht it will for ua." 

" You have a decided talent for spending money most 
agreeably, I confess," said Mr. Van ArsdeL 

"Now, papa, it's too bad for you to be running down 
your own daughter! I 'm not appreciated. I have a 
world of undeveloped genius for management. Harry has 
agreed to teach me accounts, and as I belong to the class 
who always grow wiser than their teachers, I 'ra sure that 
before six mouths are over I shall he able to suggest im- 
proved methods to him. When I get a house you '11 all 
he glad to come and aee me, I shall make it so bright and 
sunny and funny, and give you such lovely thinga to eat; 
and in my house everybody shall do just aa they please, 
and have their own way if they can find out what it ia. I 
know people will like it." 

"I believe you. Pussy," said Mr. Van Arsdel; "but 
houses don't grow on hushes, you know." 

"Well, haven't I aix thousand dollars, all my own, that 
grandma left me t " 



"And how much of a house do you think that would 
buy?" 

"Perhaps as big a one as you and mother began in." 
"Yoii never would be eatiefied with such a house as we 

"Why not) Are we any better than you were? " 
"So. But nowadays no young folks are contented to 

"Then, papa, you are going to see a new thing upon the 
earth, for Harry and I are going to be pattern folks for 
being rational and contented. We ate going to start out 
on a new tack and bring in the golden age. But, bless me! 
there 's Aunt Maria coming down the street. Now, Harry, 
cornea the tug of war. I am going now to emancipate 
niamma and proclaim the new order of things," and out she 
flitted. 

"Mr. Henderson," said Mr. Van Arsdel, when she had 
gone, "I think it is about certain that I am to look on 
you as a future member of our family. I '11 be fair with 
you, that you may take etepa with your eyes open. My 
daughters are supposed to be heiresses, but, as things are 
tending, in a very short time I may be put back to where 
I started in life and have all to begin over. My girls will 
have nothing, I see such a crisis impending, and I have 
no power to help it." 

"My dear sir," said I, "while I shall be sorry for your 
trouble, and hope it may not come, I shall be only too glad 
to prove my devotion to Eva." 

"It is evident," said Mr. Van Aradel, "that her heart is 
set on you, and, after all, the only true comfort is in hav- 
ing the one you want. I myself never eared for fashion, 
Mr. Henderson, nor parties, nor any of this kind of fuss 
and show the women think so much of; and I believe that 
Eva is a little like me, I like to go back to the old place 
in summer and eat huckleberries and milk, and see tbd 



■ MAKING LOVE TO ONE'8 FATHER-IN-LAW 



403 



cows come home from pastuie, and sit in father's old arm- 
chair. It would c't take bo much running and scheming 
and hard thinking and care to live if folks were all of my 
mind. Why, up in New Hampshire where I came from, 
there 's Gcarcely ever an estate administered upon that fig- 
ures up more than five thousand dollars, and yet they all 
live well — have nice houses, nice tables, give money in 
charity, and make a good thing of life." 

There was something really quite pathetic in this burst 
of confidence from the worthy man. Perhaps I was the 
first one to whom he had confessed the secret apprehensions 
with which he was struggling. 

" You see, Mr. Henderson, you never can tell about in- 
Testments. Stocks that seem to stand afi firm as the foun- 
dations of the earth, that the very oldest and shrewdest and 
longest-headed put into, run down and depreciate — and 
when they get lunning yon can't draw out, you see. Now 
- I advanced capital for the new Lightning Line Bailroad to 
the amount of two hundred thousand, and pledged my 
Guatemala stock for the money, and then arose this combi- 
nation against the Guatemala stock and it has fallen to a 
fourth of its value in six months, and it takes heavy row- 
ing — heavy. I 'd a great deal rather be in father's old 
place, with an estate of five thousand dollars, and read my 
newspaper in peace, than to have all I have with the mia- 
ery of managing it. I may work out and I may not." 




CHAPTER XXXVm 

ACCEPTED AND ENGAGED 

And 80 at last I was accepted, and my engagement with 
Eva was recognized as 9k fait aecampli. In the family of 
my betrothed were all shades of acquiescence. Mrs. Van 
Arsdel was pensively resigned to me as a mysterious dis- 
pensation of Providence. Mr. Van Arsdel, though not in 
any way demonstrative, showed an evident disposition to 
enter into confidential relations with me. Ida was whole- 
hearted and cordial; and Alice, after a little reconnoitring, 
joined our party as a gay, generous young girl, naturally 
disposed to make the best of things, and favorably inclined 
toward the interests of young lovers. 

Mr. Trollope, in "The Small House at Allington," re- 
presents a young man just engaged as feeling himself in the 
awkward position of a captive led out in triumph for exhi- 
bition. The lady and her friends are spoken of as march- 
ing him forth with complacency, like a prize ox with rib- 
bons in his horns, imable to repress the exhibition of their 
delight in having entrapped him. One would infer from 
this picture of life such a scarcity of marriageable men that 
the capture even of such game as yoimg Crosbie, who is 
represented to be an untitled young man, without fortune 
or principle, is an occasion of triumph. 

In our latitudes, we of the stronger sex are not taught 
to regard ourselves as such overpoweringly delightful acqui- 
sitions, and the declaration of an engagement is not with 
us regarded as evidence of a lady's skill in hunting. I did 
not) as young Crosbie is said to have done, feel myself 



ACCEPTED AND IKGAOED 



405 



somehow caught. On the contrary, I was lost in wooder 
at ray good fortune. If I had found the pot of gold at the 
end of the rainhow, or dug up the buried treasures of Cap- 
tain Kidd, I could not have seemed to myself more as one 
who dreamed. 

I wrote all about it to my mother, who, if she judged 
by my letters, muat have believed " Hesperian fables " true 
for the first time in the world, and that a woman had been 
specially made and created out of all impossible and fabu- 
lous eleraeuts of joy. The child-wife of my early days, 
the dream-wife of my youth, were both living, movii^, 
breathing in this wonderful reality. 1 tried to di^;uiBe 
my good fortune — to walk soberly and behave myself 
among men as if I were sensible and rational, and not 
dazed and enchanted. I felt myself orbed in a magical 
circle, out of which I looked pityingly on everybody that 
was not I. A spirit of universal match-making benevo- 
lence possessed me. I wanted everybody I liked to be 
engaged, I pitied and made allowances for everybody that 
was not. How could they be happy or*good that had not 
my fortune 1 They had not, they never could have, an 
Eva. There was but one Eva, and I had her! 

I woke every morning with a strange, new thrill of joy. 
Was it sol Was she still in this world, or had this im- 
possible, strange mirage of blisa risen like a mist and 
floated heavenward 1 1 trembled when I thought how frail 
a thii^ human life is. Was it possible that she might 
die % Was it possible that an accident in a railroad car, a 
waft of drapery toward an evening lamp, a thoughtless false 
step, a mistake in a doctor's prescription, might cause this 
lovely life to break like a bubble, and be utterly gone, and 
there bo no more Eva, never, nevermore on earth 1 The 
II very intensity of love and hope suggested the possibility of 
■ the dreadful tragedy that every moment imderlies life ; 
I that with every joy connects the possibility of a proper- 



40C MY WIFE AND I 

tioned pain. Surely love, if notbing else, inclines the boqI 
to feel ita helplessness and be prayerfol, to place its treo- 
eures in a. Father's hand. 

Sometimes it seemed to me too much to hope for, that 
she ebould live to be my wife; that the fabulous joy c^ 
possession should ever be mine. Each morning I left my 
bunch of fresh violets with a greeting in it at her door, and 
assured myself that the earth yet retained her, and all day 
long I worked with the under-thought of the little boudoir 
where I should meet her in the evening. Who says mod- 
em New York life is prosaic T The everlasting poem of 
man and woman is as fresh there at thi« hour as among the 
crocuses and violets of Eden, 

A graceful writer, in one of our late magazines, speaks 
of the freedom which a young man feels when he has 
found the mistress and queen of bis life, He is bound to 
no other service, he is anxious about no other smile or 
frown. I had been approved and crowned by my Queen of 
Love and Beauty. If she liked me, what matter about the 
rest I 

It did not disturb me a particle to feel that I was sub- 
mitted to as a necessity, rather than courted as a blessing, 
by her parents. I cared nothing for cold glances ot indif- 
ferent airs so long as my golden-haired Ariadne threw roe 
the clue by which I threaded the labyrinth, and gave me 
the talisman by which to open the door. Once safe with 
her in her little "Italy," the boudoir in which we first 
learned to know each other, we laughed and chatted, mak- 
ing ourselves a gay committee of observation on the whole 
world besides. Was there anybody so fortunate as we) 
and was there any end to our subject-matter for conrersK- 
tionl 

"Ton have no idea, Harry," she said to me the fint 
evening after our engagement had been declared, " what m 
time we 've been having with Aunt Maria ! You know ain 




ACOEPTED AND ENGAGED 






407 

oldest sister, and mamma ia one of the gentle, 
yielding sort, and Aunt Maria has always ruled and reigned 
over us all. She really has a way of ordering mamma 
about, and mamma I think is positively afraid of her. 
Not that she 's really ill-tempered, but she is one of the 
sort that thiiUcs it 's a matter of course that she should 
govern the world, and is perfectly astonished when she 
tinds she can't. I have never resisted her before, becauso 
I have been rather lazy, aud it 's easier to give up than to 
fight; and besides oue remembers one's catechism, and 
doesn't want to rise up against one's pastors and maetere." 

" But you thought you had come to a place where amia- 
bility ceased to be a virtue 1 " said I. 

"Exactly. Ida always said that people must have cour- 
age to be disagreeable, or they couldn't be good for much; 
and so I put on all my terrors, and actually bullied Aunt 
Maria into submission." 

"You must have been terrific," said I, laughing. 

"Indeed, you ought to have seen me! I astonished my- 
self. I told her that she always had domineered over us 
all, but that now the time had come that she must let my 
mother alone, and not torment her; that, as for myself, I 
waa a woman and not a child, and that I should choose my 
lot in life for myself, as I had a right to do. I assure you, 
there was warm work for a little while, but I remained 
mistress of the field. " 

"It was a revolutionary struggle," said I. 

"Exactly, — a Kght at the barricades; and as a result a 
new government is declared. Mamma reigns in her own 
house and I am her prime minister. On the whole I think 
mamma is quite delighted to be protected in giving me my 
own way, as she always baa. Aunt Maria has shaken 
dreadful warnings and threateniugs at me, and exhausted 
perfect bead-roll of instances of girls that had married for 
love and come to grief. You 'd have thought that nothing 



408 MY WIFE AND I , 

less than beggary and starvation was before us; and the 
more I laughed the more solemn and awful she grew. She 
didn't spare me. She gave me a sad character. I hadn't 
been educated for anything, and I didn't know how to do 
anything, and I had no strength; in short, she made out 
such a picture of my incapacities as may well make you 
tremble." 

"I don't tremble in the least," said I. "I only wish 
we could set up our establishment to-morrow." 

" Aimt Maria told me that it was ungenerous of me to 
get engaged to a man of no fortune, now when papa is 
struggling with these heavy embarrassments, and can't 
afford the money to marry me, and set me up in the style 
he would feel obliged to. You see. Aunt Maria is think- 
ing of a wedding twice as big as the Elmores, and a trous- 
seau twice as fine, and a brown-stone front palace twice as 
high and long and broad as the Kivingtons' ; and twice as 
many coup^ and Park wagons and phaetons as Maria Biv- 
ington is to have ; and if papa is to get all this for me, it 
will be the ruin of him, she says." 

"And you told her that we didn't want any of themt" 
said I. 

" To be sure I did. I told her that we did n't want one 
of these vulgar, noisy, showy, expensive weddings, and 
that I did n't mean to send to Paris for my things. That 
a young lady who respected herself was always supplied 
with clothes good enough to be married with; that we 
didn't want a brown-stone palace, and could be very happy 
without any carriage ; and that there were plenty of cheap 
little houses in unfashionable streets we could be very 
happy in; that people who really cared for us would come 
to see us, live where we would, and that those who didn't 
care might keep away." 

"Bravo, my queen ! and you might tell her how Madame 
Steamier drew all the wit and fashion of Paris to her little 



AOCBPTBT) AND ENGAGED 409 

brick-floored rooms in the old Abbey. People will always 
waut to come where you are." 

"I don't set up for a E^camier," she exclaimed, "but I 
do say that where people have good times, and keep a 
bright pleasant fireside, and are always glad to see frienda, 
there will always be friends to come; and/ciejtrfs are the 
ones we want," 

"Ahl we will show them how things can be done, won't 
we 7" 

"Indeed we will. I always wanted a nice little house 
all my own where I could show what I could do. I have 
quantities of pet ideas of what a home should be, and I 
always fancied I eould make things lovely." 

"If you couldn't, who could!" said I, enchanted. 

"See here," she added, "I have just begun to think 
what we have to start with. AH the pictures in this little 
room are mine, bought with my own allowance; they are 
my very own. Pictures, you know, are a great thing, they 
half furnish a house. Then you know that six thousand 
dollars that grandmamma left me! Besides, sir, only 
think, a whole silver cream- pitcher and six tablespoons I 
Why, Harry, I 'm an heiress in my own right, even if 
l>oor papa should come to grief." 

Something in this talk reminded me of the far-off child- 
ish days when Susie and I made our play-houses under the 
old butternut- tree, and gathered in our stores of chestnuts 
and walnuts and laid our grave plana for life as innocently 
as two squirrels, and I laughed with a tear in my eye, I 
recounted to her the little idyl, and said that it had been 
a foreshadowing of her, and that perhaps my child-angel 
had guided me to her. 

"Some day you shall take me up there, Harry, and show 
me where you and she played together, and we will gather 
. Btrawberries and lilies and hear the bobolinks," she said. 
I "How little the world knows how cheap happiness is! " 



MT VfWS AND I 

"To those that know where to look for it," said I, 

" I heard papa telling you that half the estates on which 
good New England families live in comfort up there in the 
country don't amount to more than five thousand dollars, 
yet they live well, and they have all those lovely things 
around them free. Here in this artificial city life people 
atruggle and suffer to get money for things they don't want 
and don't need. Nobody wants these great parties, with 
their candy pyramids and their attilicial flowers and their 
rush and crush that tire one to death, and yet they pay aa 
much foT one as would keep one of those country liousea 
going for a year. I do wish we could live there 1 " 

" I do too — with all my heart, but my work must lie 
here. We must make what the French call an interior 
here in New York. I shall have to be within call of 
printers and the slave of printers' devils, but in summer 
■we will go up into the raonntaina and stay with my 
mother, and have it all to ourselves." 

"Do you know, Harry," said Eva after a pause, "I can 
Bee that Sophie Elmore really does admire Sydney. I 
can't help wondering how one can, but I see she does. 
Kow don't you hope she '11 get engaged to him 1 " 

"Certainly I do," said I. "I want all nice people to he 
engaged if they have as good a time aa we do. It 's my 
solution of the woman question." 

" Well, do you know I managed my last interview witii 
Sydney with reference to thati I made what you would 
call a split-shot in croquet to send him from me and to 

"How did you do iti" 

"Oh, don't ask me to describe. There are ways of 
managing these men that are incommunicable. One can 
play on them as upon a piano, and I '11 wager you a pair 
of gloves that Sydney goes off after Sophie. She 'a too 
good for him, but she likes him, and Sophie will make him 



I 



AOCEPTBD AND ENGAOED 



411 



J wife. But oaly think of poor Aunt Maria! It 
will be the last stroke that breaks the camel's back to have 
the Elmores get Sydney." 

"So long aa he doesn't get you, I shall be delighted," 
said I. 

"Now only think," she added, "this spring I was drift- 
ing into an engagement with that man just because I wa^ 
idle, and blasee, and didn't know what to do next, and 
didn't have force enough to keep saying ' !No ' to mamma 
and Aunt Maria and all the rest of them." 

"And what gave you force T" 

"Well, air, I couldn't help seeing that somebody else 
was getting very prettUy entangled, and I felt a sort of 
philosophic interest in watching the process, and somehow 
— you know — I was rather sorry for you." 

"Well)" 

"Well, and I began to feel that anybody else would be 
intoleiable, and you know they aay there must be some- 
body," 

"But me you could toleratel Thank you for eo much," 

"Yes, Harry, I think you are rather agreeable. I 

couldn't fancy myself sitting a whole evening with Sydney 

as I do with you, 1 always had to resort to whist and 

all sorts of go-betweens to keep him entertained ; and I 

couldn't fancy that I ever should run to the window to 

see if he were coming in the evening, or long for him to 

come back when he was on a journey. I 'm afraid I should 

long quite the other way and want him to go journeys 

often. But Sophie will do all these things. Poor man! 

Bomebody ought to, for he wouldn't be a bit satisfied if 

hia wife were not devoted. I told him that, and told him 

that he needed a woman capable of more devotion than I 

\ could feel, and flattered him up a little — poor fellow, he 

]i took to it 80 kindly! And after a while I contrived to let 

I fall a nice bit of a compliment I had once heard about him 



412 MY WIFE AND I 

from a lady, who I remarked was usually a little fastidious, 
and hard to please, and you ought to have seen how ani- 
mated he looked! A mouse in view of a hit of toasted 
cheese never was more excited. I would n't tell him who 
it was, yet I sent him off on such a track that he inevita- 
hly will find out. That 's what I call sending Sophie a 
hall to play on. You see if they don't have a great wed- 
ding ahout the time we have our little one ! '' 



CHAPTER XXXrX 



COMORATULATIONS, ETC. 

Tcffi annottneeiaent of my engagement brought the ii 
influx of congratulations by letter and in petson. Bolton 
wae gravely delighted, shook my hand paternally, and even 
promised to quit hia hermit hole and go with me to call 
upon the Van Arsdels. 

Aa to Jim, he raised a notable breene among the papers, 
"Engaged! — you, sly dog, after all I Weill well! Let 
your sentimental fellows alone for knowing what they 're 
about. All your sighing, and poetry, and friendship, and 
diBiatereatednesB and all that don't go for nothing. Up 
to 'bW after all! Well, you've done a tolerably fair 
stroke! Those Van Arsdel girls are good for a hundred 
thousand down, and the rest will come in the will. Well, 
joy to you, my boy! Remember your old grandfather." 

Now there was no sort of use in going into high heroics 
with Jim, and I had to resign myself to being congratulated 
as a successful fortune-hunter, a thing against which all 
my resolution and all my pride had always been directed. 
I had every appearance of being caught in the fact, and 
Jim was prepared to make the most of the situation. 

"I declare, Hal," he said, perching himself astride a 
chair, "such things make a fellow feel solemn. We never 
know when our tiim may come. Nobody feels safe a min- 
ute; it 's you to-day and me to-morrow. I may be engaged 
before the week is out — who knows J" 

"If nothing worse than that happens to you, you 
need n't be frightened," said I. "Better try your luck. I 
don't find it bad to take at all, " 



ti4 



MT WIFE AND I 



"Oh, but think of the consequences, inanl Wedding 
joumej, bandboxes and parasoU to look after; beefsteaks 
and coffee for two; house rent and vater taxes; marketing, 
gioceiiea ; all coming down on you like a thousand of brick! 
And then, 'My dear, won't you see to this I' and 'My 
dear, have you aeen to that? ' and ' My dear, what makes 
you let it rain 1 ' and ' My dear, how many times must 1 
tell you I don't like hot weatherl ' and ' My dear, won't 
you just step out and get me the new moon and seven etars 
to trim my bonnet t ' That 'b what I call getting a fellow 
into buEinessI It 's a aolemn thing, Hal, now I tell you, 
this getting married I " 

"If it makes you solemn, Jim, I shall believe it," I said. 

"Well, when is it to come oSt When ia the bUsafnl 
day I" 

"No time fixed as yet," said I. 

"Why nott You ought to drive things. Nothing 
under heaven to wait for except to send to Faiia for the 
fol-de-rols. Well, I shall call up and congratulate. If Misa 
Alice there would take me, there might be a pair of us. 
Wouldn't it be jolly I I aay, Hal, how did you get it 
off?" 

"Get what off 1" 

"Why, the question." 

"You'll have to draw on youi imagination for that, 
Jim." 

"I tell you what, Harry, I won't offer myself to a girl 
on uncertainties. I 'd pump like thunder first and fiud 
out whether she 'd have me or not." 

"I fancy," said I, "that if you undertake that process 
with Miss Alice, you'll have your match. I think she 
has as many variations of yea and no as a Frenchwoman." 

"She doesn't catch this child," said Jim, "though she 'a 
' maff, ' and no mistake. Soberly, she 's one of the niceit 
giila in New York — but Jim's time isn't come y«t, 



CONGRATULA.TI0KS, BTO. 



Mot for Joseph, if he koowB it, 
Oh, dtar, no I ' 

So now, Hal, don't disturb my mind with these trifles. 
I 'vB got three hooks to review before dinner, and only an 
hour and a half to do it in." 

In ray secret heart I began to wiah that the embarrass- 
ments that were hanging over the Van Arsdel fortunes 
would culminate and come to a crisis one way or another, 
so that our position might appear to the world what it 
really was. Mr. Van Arsdel's communications to me were 
so far confidential that I did not feel that I could allude 
to the real state of things even with my most intimate 
friends ; so that while I was looked upon from the outaide 
as the prospective winner of an heiress, Eva and I were 
making all our calculations for the future on the footing of 
the strictest prudence and economy. Everybody was look- 
ing for splendor and festivities; we were enacting a secret 
pastoral, iu which we forsook the grandeurs of the world 
to wander forth hand in hand in paths of simplicity and 
frugality. 

A week after this I received a note from Caroline which 
announced her arrival in the city, and I lost no time in 
waiting on her and receiving her congratulations on my 
good fortune. Eva and Ida Van Arsdel were prompt in 
calling upon her, and the three struck up a friendship 
which grew with that tropical rapidity and luxuriance 
characteristic of the atlachments of women, Ida and Caro- 
line became at once bosom, friends, 

"I'm so glad," Eva commented to me, "because you 
and I are together so much now that I was afraid Ida 
might feel a little out in the cold; I have been her pet and 
stand-by. The fact is, I 'm like that chemical thing that 
dyers call a mordant — something that has an afhnity for 
two different colors that have no affinity for each other. 



416 MT WIFE AND I 

I 'm just enough like mamma and just enough like Ida to 
hold the two together. They hoth tell me eyeiything^ and 
neither of them can do without me." 

^'I can well believe that," said I, "it is an experience 
in which I sympathize. But I am coming in now, like 
the third power in a chemical combination, to draw you 
away from both. I shouldn't think they 'd like it." 

"Oh, well, it's the way of nature! Mamma left her 
mother for papa — but Ida ! — I'm glad for her to haye so 
nice a friend step in just now — one that has all her pecu- 
liar tastes and motives. I wish she could go to Paris and 
study with Ida when she goes next year. Do you know, 
Harry, I used to think you were engaged to this cousin of 
yours t Why were n't you t " 

" She never would have had me, — her heart was gone 
to somebody else." 

"Why isn't she married, then?" 

"Oh I the course of true love, you know.'* 

"Tell me all about it." 

"She never made me her confidant," said I evasiTely. 

"Tell me who it was, at all events," demanded she. 

"Bolton." 

"What! that serious, elegant Bolton that you brought 
to call on us the other night? We all liked him so much! 
What can be the matter there f Why, I think he 's superl)^ 
and she 's just the match for him. What broke it oflFf " 

"You know I told you she never made me her confi- 
dant." 

"Nor he, either?" 

"Well," said I, feeling myself cornered, "I throw my- 
self on your mercy. It 's another man's secret, and I 
ought not to tell you, but if you ask me I certainly shall" 

" Bight or wrong ? " 

" Yes, fair Eve, just as Adam ate the apple ; so beware ! " 

"I 'm just dying to know, but if you really ought not 



CONGRATULATIONS, ETC. 



417 



to tell me I won't tease for it; but I tell you what it is, 
Harry, if I were you I should bring them together." 

"Would you dare take the reaponaibility of bringing any 
two together) " 

"I suppose I should. I am a daring young woman." 

"I have not your courage," said I, "but if it will do yon 
any good to know, Bolton is in a fair way to renew the 
acquaintance, though he meant not to do it." 

" You can tell me how that happened, I suppose I " 

" Yea, that ia at your service. Simply, the meeting was 
effected as some others of fateful results have been, — in 
a New York street car." 

"Aha! " she said, laughing. 

"Yes; he was traveling up Sixth Avenue the other 
night when a drunken conductor was very rude to two 
ladies. Bolton interfered, made the man behave himeelf, 
waited on the ladiea across the street to their door as some- 
body else once did, — when, behold! a veil is raised, the 
light of the lamp flashes, and one says ' Mr. Bolton! ' and 
the other ' Miss Simmons! ' and the romance is opened." 

"How perfectly charming I Of course be '11 call and see 
her. He must, you know." 

"That haa proved the case in my experience." 

" And all the rest will follow. They are made for each 
other. Poor Ida, she won't have Caroline to go to Paris 
with her ! " 

"Sol I think she will. In fact, I think it would bo 
the best thing Caroline could do." 

"You do! Y'ou don't want tbem to be married 1 " 

"I don't know. I wouldn't say — in fact, it 'a a case I 
wouldn't for the world decide." 

"Oh, heavens! Here's a mystery, an obstacle, an un- 
known horror, and you can't tell me what it is, and I must 
not ask. Why, this is perfectly dreadful 1 It isn't any- 
thing against Bolton 1 " 



418 MY WIFE AND I 

''Bolton is the man I most love, most respect^ n 
revere," I said. 

" What can it he then t " 

"Suppose we leave it to fate and the future,'' said L 



CHAPTER XL 

THE EXPLOSION 

it's too confounded bad!" said Jim Fellows, 
ito my room; "your apple-cart *s upset for good. 
Lrsdels are blown to thunder. The old one has 
a million. Gone to smash on that Lightning 
md there you all are ! Hang it all, I'm sorry 
jid to say the truth Jim's face did wear an air 
ih. concern as his features were capable of. 
me," he added, "you take it coolly." 
ct is, Jim, I knew all about this the day I pro- 
knew it must come, and I 'm glad, since it had 
have it over and be done with it. Mr. Van 
i me exactly what to expect when I engaged 

ou and Miss Eva Van Arsdel are going to join 
play * Babes in the Wood ' ? " 
said I, "we are going to play the interesting 
t of * Man and Wife. ' I am to work for her, 
■t I win is to be put into her hands." 

I fancy she '11 find things on quite another 
it comes to your dividends." 
not at all afraid of that — you '11 see." 



420 MY WIFE AND I 

It ran thus: — 

Well, dearest, the storm has burst and nobody is killed 
yet. Papa told mamma last night| and mamma told us 
this morning, and we are all agreed to be brave as possible 
and make it seem as light as we can to papa. Dear papa! 
I know it was for us he struggled, it was for us he was 
anxious, and we '11 show him we can do very weU. Gome 
down now. Mamma says she feels as if she could trust 
you as a son. Is n't that kind f 

Your own Eva. 

"I 'm going right down to the house," said I. 

"I declare," said Jim, ''I want to do something, and 
one doesn't know what. I say, I'll buy a bouquet for 
Alice, and you just take it with my compliments." So 
saying Jim ran down with me, crossed to a florist's cellar, 
and selected the most extravagant of the floral treasures 
there. 

** Hang it all ! " he said, *' I would n't send her such a 
one when she was up in the world, but now a fellow wants 
to do all he can, you know." 

''Jim," said I, "you are not a mere smooth- water 
friend." 

" Not L * Go for the amder dog in the fight * is my 
principle, so get along with you and stay as long as you 
like. I can do your book notices; I know just the sort 
of thing you would say, you know — do 'em up brown, so 
that you wouldn't know my ideas from your own." 

Arrived at the Van Arsdel house, I thought I could see 
and feel the traces of a crisis, by that mysterious intimation 
that fills the very air of a pltice where something has just 
happened. The elegant colored servant who opened the 
door wore an aspect of tender regret like an undertaker at 
a funeral. 



THE EXPLOSION 



421 



"Miss Era was in her boudoir, "he said, "btit Mias Alice 
hadn't come down." I sent up the bouquet with Mr. Fel- 
lows'a coinpliments, and made the heat of my way to Eva. 

She was in the pretty little nook in which we had had 
our first long talk, and which now ehe called our "Italy." 
I found her a little pale and aerioue, but on the whole in 
cheerful apirits. 

" It 'a about as bad as it can be, " aaid she. " It seema 
papa has made himself personally responsible for the Light- 
ning Bail road and borrowed money to put into it, and then 
there 's aomething or other about the stock he borrowed on 
running down till it isn't worth anything. I don't under- 
stand a word of it, only I know that the upshot of it all 
is, papa ia going to give up all he has and begin over. 
This house and furniture will be put into a broker's baada 
Bud advertised for sale. All the pictures are going to 
Goupil's sale rooms and will make quite a nice gallery." 

"Except yours in this room," said I. 

"Ah, well! I thought we should keep theae, but I find 
papa is very sensitive about giving up everything that is 
really his — and theae are hia in fact. I bought them with 
hia money. At all events, let them go. We won't care, 
will wet" 

"Not so long aa we have each other," said I. "For my 
part, though I 'm sorry for you all, yet I bless the stroke 
that brings you to me. You see, we must make a new 
home at once, you and I; isn't it so? Now, hear me; let 
us be married in June, the month of months, and for our 
wedding journey we '11 go up to the mountains and see my 
mother. It 's perfectly lovely up there. Shall it he ao 1 " 

"Aa you will, Harry. And it will be all the better bo, 
because Ida is going to sail for Paris sooner than she 
anticipated. " 

" Why does Ida do that ? " 

"Well, you see, Ida has been the manager of papa's for- 



MT WWK AMD I 

eign coTKBpondence and written all tfae letters for three 
years past, and papa has paid her a large salary, of vhich 
she lias spent scarcely anything. She has invested it to 
malce her studies with in Paris. She offered this to papa, 
but he would not take it. He told her it was no more his 
than the aalary of any other of his clerks, and that if she 
wouldn't make him very unhappy she would take it and 
go to Paris; and by going immediately she could arrange 
some of his foreign business. So, you see, she will stay to 
see ua married and then Hail" 

" We '11 be married in the same church where we put up 
the Easter crosses," said I. 

"How little we dreamed it then," she said; "and that 
reminds me, sir, where 'a my glove that you stole on that 
occasion! You naughty boy, you thought nobody saw 
you, but somebody did." 

"Your glove," said I, "is safe and sound in my reli- 
quary along with sundry other treasures." 

"You unprincipled creature 1 what are they I Confess." 

"Weill a handkerchief." 

" Wretched man ! and besides 1 " 

"Two hairpins, a faded rose, two beads that dropped 
from your croquet suit, and a sleeve-button. Then there 
is a dry sprig of myrtle that you dropped on, let me see, 
the 14th of April, when you were out at the Park in one 
of those rustic arbora." 

"And you were sitting glowering like an owl in an ivy 
bush. I remember I saw you there." 

We both found ourselves laughing very much louder 
than circumstances seemed really to require, when Eva 
heard her father's footstep and checked herself, "There 
goes poor papa. Isn't it a shame that we laugh t We 
ought to be sober, now, but for the life of me I can't. 
I 'm one of the imponderable elastic gases; you can't keep 
roe down." 



THE EXPLOSION 



"One 



I may 'i 

Btances," said I. 

" Better, a dc 

believe that eve 

It waa while he 



I well laugh c 



cry, 



under all circum- 



;en times. But Berioualy and soberly, I 
L pnpa, now it 'b all over, feels relieved, 
ras etcu^ling, fearing, dreading, afraid to 
tell us, that he had the worst of it." 

"Nothing is ever so bad as one's fears," said 1. "There 
is always some hope even at the bottom of Pandora's box," 
" Sententious, Mr. Editor, but true. Kow in illustra- 
tion. Last week Ida and I wrote to the boys at Cambridge 
alt about what we feared was coming, and tbis very morn- 
ing we had such nice manly letters from both of them. If 
we hadn't been in trouble we never should Lave known 
half what good fellows they are. Look here," she. said, 
opening a letter, "Tom says, 'Tell father that I can take 
care of myself. I 'm in my senior year and the rest of the 
course is n't worth waiting for, and I 've had an opportu- 
nity to pitch in with a surveying party on the Northern 
Kailroad along with my chum. I shall work like sixty, 
and make myself so essential that they can't do without 
me. And, you see, the first that will be known of me I 
shall be one of the leading surveyors of the day. So have 
no care for me.' And here's a letter from Will which 
Bays, 'Why didn't father tell us beforel We've spent 
ever so much more than we needed, but are going about 
financial retrenchments with a vengeance. Last week I 
attended the boat-tace at Worcester and sent an account of 
it to the "Argus," written off-hand, just for the fun of it, 
I got a prompt reply, wanting to engage me to go on a re- 
porting tour of all the great election meetings for tliem. 
I'm to have thirty dollars a week and all expenses paid; 
BO, you see, I step into the press at once. We shall sell our 
pictures and furniture to some freshies that are coming in, 
and wind up matters so as not to come on father for any- 
thing till he gets poet these straits. Tell mother not to 



424 MY WIFE AND I 

worry, she shall he taken care of; she shall have Tom and 
me hoth to work for her. * " 

" They are splendid fellows ! " said I, " and it is worth 
a crisis to see how well they hehave in it. WeU, then/' 
I resumed, " our wedding day shall he fixed, say for the 
14th of June ? " 

"How very statistical! I 'm sure I can't say. I 've got 
to talk with mamma and all the powers that he, and settle 
my own head. Don't let 's set a day yet; it soils the hlue 
line of the distance — nothing like those pearl tints. Our 
drawing master used to tell us one definite touch would 
spoil them." 

" For the present, then, it is agreed that we are to he 
married generally in the month of June ? " said I. 

"P. P. — Providence permitting," said she — "Provi- 
dence, meaning mamma, Ida, Aunt Maria, and all the 
rest," 



CHAPTER XLI 



If novels are to be considered true picturea of real life 
we must believe that the fall from wealth to poverty is a 
less serious evil in America than in any other known quat- 
tei of the world. 

In English novels the failure of a millionaire is repre- 
sented as bringing results much the same as the commission 
of an infamous crime. Poor old Mr. Sedley fails, and 
forthwith all hia acquaintances cut him; nobody calls on his 
wife or knows her in the street; the family who have all 
along been courting his daughter for their eon, and kissing 
the ground at her feet, now command the son to break with 
her, and turn him out of doors for marrying her. 

In America it is quite otherwise. A man fails without 
losing friends, neighbors, and the consideration of society. 
He moves into a modest house, find some means of honest 
livelihood, and everybody calls on his wife as before. 
Friends and neighbors as they have opportunity are glad 
to stretch forth a helping hand, and a young fellow who 
should break his engagement with the daughter at such a 
crisis would simply be scouted as infamous. 

Americans have been called worshipers of the almighty 
dollar, and they certainly are not backward in that species 
of devotion, but still these well-known tacts show that our 
worship is not, after all, so absolute as that of other quar- 
tera of the world. 

Mr. Van Arsdel commanded the respect and sympathy 



4S6 

of the influential men of Kew York. The inflexible hon* 
eety and honor vith which he gave up all things to bis 
creditOM won sympathy, and tliere was a united effort 
made to procure for him an appointment in the Cuatom 
House, which would give him a comfortable income. In 
short, by the time that my wedding day arrived, the family 
might be held aa having fallen from wealth into compe- 
tence. The splendid establishment on Fifth Avenue waa 
to be sold. It was, in fact, already advertised, and our 
wedding was to be the last act of the family drama in it. 
After that we were to go to my mother's, in the mountains 
of New Hampshire, and Mr. Van Aradel'a family were to 
spend the summer at the old farm-homestead where hia 
aged parents yet kept house. 

Our wedding preparations therefore went forward with 
a good degree of geniality on the part of the family, and 
with many demonstrations of sympathy and interest on the 
part of friends and relations. A genuine love-marriage 
always and everywhere evokes a sort of instinctive warmth 
and sympathy. The most worldly are fond of patronizing 
it as a delightful folly, and a^ Eva had been one of the 
most popular girls of her set she waa flooded with presents. 

And now the day of days was at hand, and for the last 
time I went up the steps of the Yan Aradet mansion to 
spend a last evening with Eva Van Arsdel. 

She met me at the door of her boudoir; "Harry, here 
you are I oh, I have no end of things to tell you ! — the 
door-bell has been ringing all day, and a perfect storm of 
presents. We have duplicates of all the things that nobody 
can do without. I believe we have six pie-knives and four 
Bugar-sifters and three egg-boilers and three china hens to 
sit on eggs, and a perfect meteoric shower of salt-cellars. 
I couldn't even count them." 

"Oh, well I Salt is the symbol of hospitality," said 1, 
"bo we can't have too many." 



THE WEDDISO 



427 



"And look here, Harry, the wedding dress has come 
home. Think of the unheard-of incomprehenaihle virtue 
of Tullegig! I don't think she ever had a thing done in 
time hefore in her life. Behold now ! " 

Sure enough ! before me, arranged on a chair, was a 
misty and visionary pageant of vapory tulle and ahimmer- 
ing satin. 

"All this is Ida's gift. She ineieted that she alone 
would dresa me tor ray wedding, and poor TuUegig actually 
has outdone herself, and worked over it with tears in her 
eyes. Good soul ! she has a heart behind all her finery, 
and really seems to take to me especially, perhaps because 
I 've been such a model of patience in waiting at her doors, 
and never scolded her for any of her tricks. In fact, we 
girls have been as good as an annuity to Tullegig; no won- 
der she mourns over us. Do you know, Harry, the poor 
old thing actually kissed me I " 

"I 'm not in the least surprised at her wanting that priv- 
' ilege," said I. 

"Well, I felt rather tender toward her. I believe it's 
Dr. Johnson or somebody else who says there are few 
things, not purely evil, of which we can say without emo- 
tion, ' This is the last! ' And Tullegig is by no means a 
pure evil. This is probably the last of her — with me. 
But come, you don't say what you think of it. What is 
I it like 1" 

"Like a vision, like the clouds of morning, like the 
I translation lobes of saints, like impossible undreamed mys- 
teries of bliss. I feel as if they might all dissolve away 
and be gone before to-morrow." 

"Oh, shocking, Harry! you mustn't take such indefinite, 

cloudy views of things. You must learn to appreciate 

[ details. Open your eyes, and learn now that Tullegig out 

I of special love and grace has adorned my dress with a new 

I style of trimming that not one of the girls has ever bod or 



L 



seen before. It is an original composition of her own. 
lau't it blisBfiil, now J" 

"Extremely blisaful," said I obediently. 

"You don't admire, — you are not half awake." 

"I do admire — wonder — adore — anything else that 
you lilce — but I can't help feeling that it is all a viaion, 
and that when those cloud wreatha float around you, you 
will dissolve away and be gone. " 

" Poh ! poh ! You will find me very visible and present, 
as a sharp little thorn in your side. Now, see, here are 
the slippers!" and therewith she set down before me a 
pair of pert little delicious white satin absurdities, with 
high heels and tiny toes, and great bows glistening with 
bugles. 

Nothing fascinates a man like a woman's slipper, from 
its utter incomprehensibility, its astonishing unlikenesa to 
any article subserving the same purpose for his own sex. 
Eva's slippers always seemed to have a character of their 
own, — a prankish elfin grace, and these as they stood 
there seemed instinct with life as two white kittens just 
ready for a spring. 

I put two fingers into each of the little wretches and 
made them caper and dance, and we laughed gaylf. 

"Let me aee your boots, Harry 1" 

"There," said I, putting best foot forward, a brand-new 
pair bought for the occasion. " I am wearing them to got 
used to them, so as to give my whole mind to the solemn 
services to-morrow. " 

"Oh, you enormous creature!" she said; "you are a 
perfect behemoth. Fancy now my slippers peeping over 
the table here and wondering at your boots. I can 
imagine the woman question discussed between the slippeia 
and the boots." 

"And I can fancy," said I, "the poor, stumping, well- 
meaning old boots being utterly perplexed and routed b; 



I THE WSDDINQ 129 

the elfin slippers. What can poor boote do T They cannot 
follow them, cannot catch or control them, and if they 
come down hard ou them they tain them altogether." 

"And the good old boots nevertheless," said she, "are 
worth forty pairs of slippers. They can stamp through 
wet and mud and lain, and come out afterwaid good bb 
new; and lift the slippers over impossible places. Dear 
old patient long-suffering boots, let the slippers respect 
them I But come, Harry, this is the last evening now, and 
do you know I 've some anxiety about our little programme 
to-morrow 1 You were not bred in the Church, and you 
never were married hetore, and so you ought to be well up 
in your part beforehand." 

"I confess," said I, "I feel ignorant and a bit nervous." 
"Now, I've been a bridesmaid no end of times, and 
seen all the possibles that may happen under those inter- 
esting circumstances, and men are so awkward — their 
great feet are always sure to step somewhere where they 
shouldn't, and then they thumb and fumble about the 
ring, and tbeir gloves always stick to their hands, and it 'a 
uncomfortable generally. Now don't, I beg you, disgrace 
me by any such enormities." ' 

"This is what the slippers say to the boots," said I, 
"Exactly, And here is where the boots do well to take 
a lesson of the slippers. They are ' on their native heath,' 
here." 

"Well, then," said I, "get. down the Prayet-Book and 
|l teach me my proprieties. I will learn my lesson thor- 
oughly." 
" "Well, now, we have the thing all arranged for to- 

I morrow; the carriages are to be here at ten; ceremony at 
(, eleven. The procession will form at the church door; 
I first, Jim Fellows and Alice, then you and maituua, then 
U papa and me, and when we meet at the altar be sure to 
I mind where you step, and don't tiead on my veil or any 



of my tulle clouds, because, though it may look lifee vapor, 
you can't very well set your foot through it; and be sniB 
you have a we 11- disciplined glove that you caa slip off 
without a fuss; and have the ring just where you can lay 
your hand on it. And now let 'a read over the service and 
responses and all that." 

We went through them creditably till Eva, putting her 
finger on one word, looked me straight in the eye. 

" Obey, Harry, isn't that a droll word between yon and 
mel I can't conceive of it. Now up to this time yon 
have always obeyed me." 

"And ' turn about is fair play,' the proverb says," said 
I; "you see, Eva, since Adam took the apple from Eve 
men have obeyed women nem. eon. — there was no need 
of putting the ' obey ' into their part. The only puzzle is 
how to constrain the auhtle, imponderable, ethereal essence 
of womanhood under some law; ho the obey is our helpless 
attempt." 

"But now, really and truly, Harry, I want to talk seri- 
ously about this. The girls are so foolish 1 Jane Sey- 
mour said she said ' be gay ' instead of ' obey ' — and Maria 
Rivington said she didn't say it at all. But really and 
truly, that is God's altar — and it is a religious service, and 
if I go there at all, I must understand what I mean, and 
say it from my heart." 

"My dear, if you have any hesitancy you know that 
you can leave it out. In various modem wedding services 
it is often omitted. We could easily avoid it," 

" Oh, nonsense, Harry ! Marry out of the Church I 
What are you thinking of ? Not I, indeed! 1 shouldn't 
think myself really married." 

"Well, then, my princess, it is your own affair. II 
you choose to promise to obey me, I can only be grateful 
for the honor; if it gives any power, it is of your giving 
not my seeking." 



THE WTiDDlNG 



431 



i 



"But what does a woman promifle when she promises at 
the altar to obeyl" 

"Well, evidently, she promisea to obey her husband in 
every case where he commands and a higher duty to God 
does not forbid." 

" But does this mean that all through life in every case 
where there arises a dilTerence of opinion or taste between 
a husband and wife she is to give up to him! " 

"If," said I, "she has been bo unwise as to make this 
promise to a man without common sense or gentlemanly 
honor, who chooses to have hia own wiU prevail in all cases 
of differences of taste, I don't see but she must." 

"But between people like you and me, Harryl " 

"Between people like you and me, darling, I can't see 
that the word can make any earthly difference. There 
can be no obeying where there never is any commanding, 
and OS to commanding you I should as soon think of com- 
manding the sun and moon." 

"Well; hut you know we shall not always think alike 
or want the same thing." 

"Then we will talk matters over, and the one that gives 
the best reasons shall prevail. You and I will he like any 
other two dear friends who agree to carry on any enterprise 
together: we shall discuss matters, and sometimes one and 
sometimes the other will prevail." 

"But, Harry, this matter puzzles me. Why is there a 
command in the Bible that wives should always obeyT 
Very many times in domestic affairs, certainly, the woman 
knows the most and has altogether the best judgment. " 

"It appears to me that it is one of those very general 
precepts that require to he largely interpreted by common 
sense. Taking the whole race of man together, for all 
stages of society and all degrees of development, I suppose 
it is the safest general direction for the weaker party. In 
low stages of society where brut« force rules, man has 



i 



43S KT WIFE AND I 

woman wholly in his power, and she can win peace and 
protection only by aubmission. But where society rises 
into those higher forms where husbands and wives are in- 
telligent companions and equals, the direction docB no 
harm, because it confers a prerogative that no cultivated 
man would think of asserting any more than he wouid 
think of using his superior physical atrengtli to enforce it," 

"I suppose, " suid Eva, "it is just like the command 
that children should obey parents. When children are 
grown up and married and settled, parents never think 
of it." 

"Precieely," said I, "and you and I are the grown-up 
children of the Christian era — all that talk of obedience is 
the old calyx of the perfect flower of love — ' when that 
which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall 
be done away. ' " 

"So, then, it appears you and I shall have a free field 
of discussion, Harry, and maybe I shall croquet your ball 
off the ground sometimes, as I did once before, you know." 

"I dare say you will. There was an incipient spice of 
matrimonial virulence, my fair Eva, in the way you played 
that game ! In fact, I began to hope I was not indifferent 
to you from the zeal with which you pursued and routed 
me on that occasion." 

"I must confess it did my heart good to set your ball 
spinning, — and that puts me in mind. I have the great- 
est piece of news to tell you. If you 'U believe me, Sid- 
ney and Sophie are engaged already! She came here 
this morning with her present, this lovely amethyst cross 
— and it seems funny to me, but she is just as dead in 
love with Sydney as she can be, and do you know he is ao 
delighted with the compliment that he has informed her 
that he has made the discovery that he never was in love 
before. " 

" The scamp I what does be mean ? " said I. 



L 



THE WEDDING 438 

"Oil, he said that little witeh Eva Van Arsdel had daz- 
zled him — and he had really supposed himself in love, hut 
that ahe Dever had 'excited the piofoimcl,' etc., etc, he 
feels for Sophie." 

"So 'all 'a well that ends well,' " said I. 

"And to ahow his entire pacification toward me," said 
Eva, "he has sent me this whole eet of mantel hronzes — 
clock, vases, candlesticks, match-box, and alL Aren't they 
BuperhT" 

"Magnificent!" said I, "What an air they will give 
our room I On the whole, dear, I think rejected lovers 
are not so bad an article. " 

"Well, here, I must show you Bolton's present, which 
came in this afternoon," with which she led me to a pair 
of elegtmtly carved book-racks enriched with the complete 
works of Longfellow, Whittier, Lowell, Holmea, and Haw- 
thorne. They were elegantly gotten up in a iiniform style 
of binding. 

"Isn't that lovelyT" said she, "and so thoughtful! 
Por how many happy hours he has provided herel " 

"Good fellow!" said I, feeling the tears start in my 
eyes. "Eva, if there ia a mortal absolutely without ael- 
fishneas, it is Bolton." 

"Oh, Harry, why couldn't he marry and be as happy 
as we are t " 

"Perhaps' some day he may," said I, "tut, dear mel 
who gave that comical bronze inkstand T It 's enough to 
make one laugh to look at it." 

"Don't you know at oncel Why, that 's Jim Eellowa's 
present. Is n't it juat like him f " 

"I might have known it was Jira," said I, "it's so de- 
cidedly frisky." 

"Well, really, Harry, do you know that I am in deadly 
fear that that wicked Jim will catch my eye to-morrow in 
the ceremony or do something to set me off, and I 'm 



434 



KT WIFE AND I 



always perfectly hysterical when I 'm excited, and if I look 
his way there '11 be no hope for me." 

"We muat truat to Providence," said I; "if I should 
Bay a word of remonatiance it would make it ten times 
worse, ^hs creature is posseaeed of a frisky spirit and 
can't help it." 

"Alice was lecturing htm about it last night, and the 
only result was we nearly killed ourselves laughing. After 
oil, Harry, who can help liking Jim 1 Since our troubles 
he has been the kindest of mortals; so really delicate 
and thoughtful in his attentions. It was something I 
shouldn't have expected of him. Harry, what do you 
think I Should you want Alice to like him, eupposing you 
knew that be would like her I Is there stability enough in 
him I" 

"Jim is a queer fellow," said L "On a slight view he 
looks a mere bundle of comicalities and caprices, and he 
takes a singular delight in shocking respectable prejudices 
and making himself out worse than be is, or ever thinks of 
being. But after all, as young men go, Jim is quite free 
from bad habits. He does not drink, and he does n't 
even smoke. He is the most faithful, assiduous worker in 
his line of work among the newspaper men of New York 
He is a good son, a kind brother," 

"But, somehow, he doesn't seem to me to have real 
deep firm principle." 

" Jim is a child of modem New York — an elive of her 
school. A good wife and a good home, with good friends, 
might do much for him, but ha will always he one that 
will act more from kindly irapulses than from principle. 
He will be very apt to go as his friends go." 

"You know," she said, "in old times, when Alice was 
in full career, I never thought of anything serious as poe- 
aible. It is only since our trouble and his great kindness 
to US that I have thought of the thing as at all likely." 



THE WEDDIKG 



435 



i 



"We may as well leave it to the good powers," Baid I; 
"we cau't do mucli to help or hinder, only, if they should 
come together I shall be glad for Jim's sake, for I love 
liim. And now, my dear Eva, have you any more orders, 
coQiisela, or commands for the fateful' to-morrow 1 " said 
I; "for it waxes late, and you ought to get a beauty sleep 
to-night. " 

" Oh, I forgot to tell you I 'm not going to wear either 
my new traveling dress or hat, or anything to mark me out 
as a bride ; and look here, Harry, you must try and study, 
the old staid married man's demeanor. Don't let 'a dis- 
grace ourselves by being discovered at once." 

"Shall I turn my back on you aud read the newspaper! 
I observe that some married men do that." 

"Yea, and if you could conjugally wipe your boots on 
my dress, it would have an extremely old married effect. 
You can read the paper flrst, aud then pass it to me — that 
is another delicate little point." 

"I 'm afraid that in your zeal you will drive me to ex- 
cesses of hoorishness that will overshoot the mark," said I. 
" You would n't want me to be so negligent of ' that pretty 
girl ' that some other gentleman would feel a disposition 
to befriend her ? " 

" Well, dear, but there 'a a happy medium. We can 
appear like two relatives traveling together." 

"I am afraid," said I, "after all, we shall be detected; 
but if we are, we shall be in good company. Our first 
day's journey lies in the regular bridal route, and I expect 
that every third or fourth seat will show an enraptured 
pair, of whom we can take lessons — after aU, dear, you 
know there is no sin in being just married." 

"No, only in acting silly about it, as I hope we sha'n't. 
I want us to be models of rationality and decorum." 

Here the clock striking twelve warned me that the last 
day of Eva Van Arsdel's life was numbered. 




I SKTURNED to my toom past midnight, exeitec 
^■wakeful. Seeing a light through the crack of Bolton's 
door, I went up and knocked and was bidden to enter. I 
found him seated under his study-lamp, looking over a 
portfolio of papers, some of which lay strewed arouiid him 
open. I ohserved at a glance that the handwriting was 
that of Caroline. He looked at me. Our eyes met — a 
slight flush rose in his cheeks as he said, " I have been 
looking over a collection of writings helonging to your 
cousin, the fruits of the solitary years of her aecluded 
life." 

" And you find them " — 

"A literary treaaure," he said, with emphasis. " Yea," 
he added, " what there is here will, I think, give her repu- 
tation and established position, and a command of prices 
which will enable her to fuKill her long- cherished intention 
of studying in Paris, She will go out with Miss Ida Van 
Aradel soon after you are gone. I can aaaure her the 
means, and I have already procured her the situation of 
correspondent to the 'Chronicle,' with very liberal t«nns. 
So, you see, her way is all plain." 

"But what shall we do with the ' Ladies Cabinet ' ( " 

"Oh, we'll manage it among us. Caroline will write 
for it occasionally." 

" Caroline I " There was a great deal in the manner in 
which Bolton spoke that name. It was full of suppressed 
feeling. Some can express as much inteneity of deTotion 



BOLTON 487 

by the mere utterance of a name as others by the most 
ardent ptotestationa. 

I waa in the niood that hoMa every young man on the 
eve of a happy marriage. I could conceive of no bliss out- 
aide of that; and there wbb in the sound of Bolton's voice, 
as he apoke, a vibration of an intense pain which distressed 

"Bolton," I said imploringly, "why will you sacrifice 
yourself and her 1 She loves you — you love her. Why 
not another marriage — another home!" 

His face quivered a moment, and then settled firmly. 
He smiled, 

"Hal, my boy," he said, "you naturally eee nothing for 
man and woman but marriage just now. But it ia not 
every man and woman who love each other who have the 
right to marry. She does love me," he added, with a 
deep, inward breathing. "She is capable of all that mag- 
nanimity, all that generous self-sacrifice that make women 
such angels to us " — 

"Then, oh! why not" — began I eagerly. 

"Because I i.ove her dearly, devotedly, I will not ac- 
cept such a sacrifice. I will not risk her wrecking her life 
on me. The pain she feels now in leaving me will soon 
die out in the enthusiasm of a career. Yes, the day is 
now come, thank God, when a woman as well as a man 
can have some other career besides that of the heart. Let 
her study her profeaeion, expand ber mind, broaden her 
powers — become all that she can be. It will not impede 
her course to remember that there is in the world one friend 
who will always love her above all things; and the know- 
ledge that she loves me will save me — if I am salvable," 

" ' If ' I Oh, Bolton, my brother ! why do you say ' if ' f " 

" Because the danger is one I cannot comprehend and 
provide for. It ia like that of sudden insanity. The 
curse may never return — pray God it may not — but if it 
should, at least I shall wreck no other heart." 



438 MY WIFE AND I 

" Bolton, can you say so if there is one that loves you ? ^ 

"Not as a wife would love. Her whole being and des- 
tiny are not intertwined with mine as marriage would 
unite them. Besides, if there is somewhere hid away in 
my brain and blood the seed of this fatal mania, shall I 
risk transmitting them to a helpless child ? Shall I expose 
such a woman to the danger of suffering over again, as a 
mother, the anguish she must suffer as a wife ? — the fears, 
the anxieties, the disappointment, the wearing, wasting 
pain? As God is my Judge, I will not make another 
woman suffer what my mother has." 

In all my intercourse with Bolton I never heard hira 
speak of his mother before, and he spoke now with intense 
vehemence; his voice vibrated and quivered with emotion. 
In a few moments, however, he resumed his habitual self- 
possession. 

"No, Hal," he said cheerily, "build no air-castles for 
me. I shall do well enough ; you and yours will be enough 
to occupy me. And now show me first what I am to do 
for you while you are gone. Jim and I will trudge to all 
impossible places, to look you up that little house with a 
good many large rooms in it, that all young housekeepers 
are in search of. I will cut out advertisements and look 
over nice places and let you know the result; and I '11 see 
to the proof-sheets of your articles for the * Milky Way, ' 
and write your cQntributions to the * Democracy. ' If you 
want to be our special correspondent from the Garden of 
Eden, why you may send us back letters on your trip. 
You can tell us if the * gold of that land ' is still * good, ' 
and if there are there still * bdellium and oynx stone, ' as 
there were in the Bible days." 

"Thank you," said I. "I shall send you letters, but 
hardly of a kind to appear in the * Democracy. ' " 

"What with your engagements on that sheet, and what 
I shall have ready to pile in on you by the time you come 



BOLTON 439 

back, you will have little time for philandering after your 
return. So take it out now aud get all the honey there ia 
in this next moon. For me, I have my domestic joys. 
Finnette has presented me with a charming batch of kittens. 
Look here." 

And sure enough, snugly ensconced in a large, well- 
padded basket by the fire lay madam asleep, with four 
downy little minikins snuggled to her. Bolton took the 
lamp and kneeled down to show them, with the most ab- 
sorbed intent. Stumpy came and stood by the basket, 
wagging what was left of his poor tail, and looking aa ii 
he had some earnest responsibility in the case. 

Aa to Finnette, she opened her yellow eyes, sleepily 
stretched out her claws, purred and rolled over, as if in 
excess of pride and joy. 

"Who says there isn't happiness on earth 1" said Bol- 
ton. "A cat ia a happiness- producing machine. Hal, I 
shall save one of those kittens to set you up with. Ifo 
family is complete without a cat. I shall take one in train- 
ing for you. You ehould have a dog, too; but I can't 
spare Stumpy. I don't believe there is anything like 
him in the world." 

"I verily believe yon," said I. 

"Stumpy's beauty is so entirely moral that I fear it 
never would be popularly appreciated; besides, poor brute, 
he is quite capable of dying for love of me if I gave him 
up. That 'a an accomplishment few men attain to. Well, 
Hal, go to bed now, or you '11 be too sleepy to behave re- 
God bless youl" 





CHAPTER XLm 



THB WEDDING JODONXT 

A WZDDIXO journey, — what is itt A toar to all Uis 
most expensive and. fashionable hotels and wateting- places. 
The care of Saratoga trunks and bonnet-boxes. The dis- 
play of a fashionable wardrobe made purposely for this 
object, and affording three altogether naw and different 
toilettes a day. 

Very weU. 

Doubtless all this may coexist with true love ; and true lov- 
ers, many and ardent, have been this round, and may again, 
and have been and may be none the worse for it. Por where 
true love is, it is not much matter whatever else is or is not 

But when the Saratoga trunks, the three dresBes a day, 
and the display of them to Mrs. Grundy, have been the 
substitute for love and one of the impelling motives to 
marriage, or when they absorb all those means and re- 
sources on which domestic comfort and peace should be 
built during the first years of married life, then they are 
simply in Scriptural phrase "the abomination of desolation, 
standing where it ought not." 

Yet apart from that there is to me a violation of the 
essential sacrednoss of the hottest portion of mortal life in 
exposing it to the glare of every-day observation. It seems 
as if there were something so wonderful and sacred in thai 
union by which man and woman, forsaking all others, 
cleave to each other, that its inception requires quiet soli- 
tude, the withdrawal from the commonplace and bustling 
ways of ordinary life. 



M 



L 



THR WEDDING JOURNEY 441 

The two, more to each other than all the world besides, 
are best left to the companionahip of nature. Carpets of 
moss are better than the most elaborate of fashionable hotel 
furniture; birds and squirrels are more suitable tompanions 
than men and women. 

Oui wedding was a auccees ao far as cheerfulness and 
enjoyment were concerned. The church bad been gar- 
landed and made fair and sweet hj the floral tributes of 
many friendly hands. Jim Fellows and one or two of the 
other acquaintances of the family had exerted themselves 
to produce a very pretty effect. The wedding party was 
one of relatives and near friends only, without show or 
parade, but with a great deal of good taste. There was 
the usual amount of weeping among the elderly female rela- 
tives, particularly on the part of Aunt Maria, who insisted 
on maintaining a purely sepulchral view of oui prospects 
in life. 

Ever since the failure of Mr. Van Arsdel, Aunt Maria 
hod worn this aspect, and seemed to consider all demon- 
strations of lightness of heart and cheerfulness on the part 
of the family as unsuitable trifling with a dreadful dispen- 
sation. But the presence of this funereal influence could 
not destroy the gayety of the younger members, and Jim 
Fellows seemed to exert himself particularly to whip up 
such a froth and foam of merriment and jollity as caused 
the day to be remembered as one of the gayest ia our 
annals. 

We had but one day's ride in the cars to bring us up to 
the old simple stage route of the mountain country. Dur- 
ing this said day in the cars, under the tutelage of my 
Empress, I was made to behave myself with the grimmest 
and most stately reserve of manner. Scarcely was I allowed 
the same seat with her, and my conversation with her, so 
far ae could be observed, was confined to the most unim- 
pasBioned and didactic topics. 



J 



44Z UY WIFE kSD I 

The reason for this appeared to be that having married 
in the very matrimonial month of June, and our track 
lying along one of the greet routes of fashionable travel, 
we were beset behind and before by enraptured couples, 
whose amiable artlessness in the display of their emotions 
appeared particularly shocking to her taste. On the row 
of seats in front of us could be seen now a masculine head 
lolling confidentiBUy on a feminine shoulder, and again in 
the neKt seat an evident bridal bonnet leaning on the 
boaom of the beloved waistcoat of its choice in sweet 
aecurity. 

"It IB perfectly disgusting and disagreeable," she aald 
in my ear. 

"My dear," I replied, "I don't see aa we can do any- 
thing about it." 

"I don't see — I cannot imagine how people can make 
Buch a show of themselves," she said. 

"Well, you see," eaid I, "we are all among the par- 
venus of married life. It isn't everybody that knows how 
to behave as if he had always been rich — let ub comfort 
ourselves with reflections on our own superiority." 

The close of the day brought us, however, to the verge 
of the mountain region where railroads cease and stages 
begin, — the beautiful country, of hard, flinty, rocky roads, 
of pines and evergreens, of silvery cascadea and brooks of 
melted crystal, and of a. society as yet homely and hearts 
some, and with a certain degree of sylvan innocence. At 
once we seemed to have left the artificial worid beliind us 
— the world of observers and observed. We sat tf^ether 
on the top of the stage, and sailed like two birds of the air 
through the tree-tops of the forest, looking down into all 
the charming secrets of woodland ways as we went on, and 
feeling ourselves delivered from all the spells and incanta- 
tions of artificial life. We might have been two squirrels, 
or a pair of robins, or bluebirds. We ceased to think how 



THE WEDDING JOUHNET 



443 



we appeared. We foi^ot that there were an outer world 
aiid spectators, and felt ourselves taken in and made at 
home in the wide hospitality of nature. Highland, where 
my mother lived, was just within a day's ride of the finest 
part of the White Mountains, The close of a uliarming 
leisurely drive upward brought ua at night to her home, 
and I saw hor sweet face of welcome at the door to meet 
us, and gave her new daughter to her arms with confident 

The village was so calm, and still, and uncliangedl 
The old church where my father had preached, the houses 
where still lived the people I had known from a boy, the 
old store, the tavern with its creaking sign-post, and, best 
of aU, Uncle Jacob's house, with its recesses and comers 
full of books, its quiet rooms full of comfort, its traditions 
of hospitality, and the deep sense of calm and rest that 
seemed ever brooding there. This weis a paradise where I 
could bring my Eve for rest and for refuge. 

Wliat charming days went over our heads there ! We 
rambled like two school- children, hand in hand, over all 
the haunts of my boyhood. Where I and my little child- 
wife had gathered golden-hearted lilies and strawberries, 
we gathered them again. The same bobolink s( " ' 
ait on the top twig of the old apple-tree in the 
the meadow and say, " Ghaek, cback, chack ! " as 
it when Susie and T used to sit with the meadow g 
our heads to watch him while he poured down on 
era of musical snowdrops. It seemed as if I had gone back 
to boyhood again, so much did my inseparable companion 
recall to me the child-wife of my early days. We were 
both such perfect children, living in the enjoyment of the 
bright present, without a care or a fear for the future. 

Every day when we returned from our rambles and ex- 
cursiona the benignant face of my mother shone down on 
us with fullness of appreciation and joy in our joy; while 



led to 









L 



444 MY WWE AND r 

Uncle Jacob, atili diy, quizzical, and active i 

garded ub with aa undiBguiaed complacency. 

"You've done the right thing now, Harry," he sud to 
me. "She '11 do. You 're a lucky boj to get such a one, 
even though she is a city girl." 

Eva, after a little experience in mountain climhing, pro- 
ceeded to equip herself for it with feminine skill. Our 
village store aupplied her with material out of which with 
wonderful quickneaa she constructed what she called a 
mountain suit, somewhat of the bloomer order, but to which 
she contrived to impart a sort of air of dapper grace and 
fitness. And once arrayed in this she climbed with me to 
the most impossible places, and we investigated the iimet- 
most mysteries of rock, forest, and cavern. 

My uncle lent me his horse and carriage, and with a 
luncheon- basket well stored hy my mother's providing 
care, we went on a tour of exploration of two or three 
days into the mountains, in the course of^hich we made 
ourselves familial in a leisurely manner with some of tha 
finest scenery. 

The mutual acquaintance that comes to companions in 
this solitude and face-to-face comjnunion with nature is 
deeper and more radical than can come when surrounded 
by the factitious circumstances of society. When tha whole 
artificial world is withdrawn, and far out of sight, when 
we are surrounded with the pure and beautiful mysteries 
of nature, the very heat and most genuine part of us comes 
to the surface, we know each other by the communion of 
our very highest faculties. 

When Eva and I found ourselves alone together in the 
heart of some primeval forest, where the foot sank ankle- 
deep in a carpet of more exquisite fabric than any loom of 
mortal workmanship could create, where the old faUen 
trunks of trees were all overgrown with this exquisite 
mossy tapestry, and all around us was a perfect broidery 



THE WEDDING JOUBNET 



445 



and inlay of flower aad leaf, while birds called to us over- 
head, dowa through the flickering shadows of the pine 
boughs, we felt ourselves out of the world and in paradise, 
and able to look back from its green depths with a dispas- 
Btonate judgment on the life we had left. 

Then, the venture we had made in striking hands with 
each other to live, not for the pomps and vanities of this 
world, hut for the true realities of the heart, aeemed to ua 
the highest reason. Nature smiled on it. Every genuine 
green thing, every spicy fragrant buah and tree, every 
warbling bird, true to the laws of its nature, seemed to say 
to us, "Well done." 

"I suppose," said Eva, as we sat in one of these moun- 
tain recesses whence we could gain a view of the little sil- 
very cascade, — " I suppose that there are a great many peo- 
ple who look on me as a proper subject of pity. My fathei 
has failed. I have married a man with no fortune, except 
what he haa in himself. We can't afford to spend our 
honeymoon at Niagara, Saratoga, and the rest of the show 
places; and we don't contemplate either going to parties or 
giving them when we go back to New York." 

"Poor, poor Eva Van Arsdell how art thou fallen!" 

"Poor Aunt Maria!" said Eva. "I honestly and truly 
am sorry for her. She really loves me in her way — the 
way most people love yon, which ia to want you to be 
happy in doing aa they please. Her heart was set on my 
making an astoundingly rich match, and having a wedding 
that should eclipse all former weddings, and then becoming 
a leader of fashionable society; and to have me fail of all 
this is a dreadful catastrophe. I want somehow to com- 
fort her and make up with her, but she can't forgive me. 
She kissed me at last with a stem and warning air that 
seemed to say, 'Well, if you will go to destruction, I 



440 HT vrm AMD I 

"Perhaps when she sees how happy we are ebe will get 
over it," said I. 

"No, I fear not. Aunt Maria can't conceive of any- 
body's being happy that has to begin life with an ingrain 
carpet on the floor. She would think it a poHitive indeco- 
rum to be happy under such circumstances — a want of a 
proper sense of the fitness of things. Ifow, I propose to 
be very happy under precisely those circumatancea, and to 
try to make you ao ; consequently you see I shall offend 
her moral senae continuously, and, as I said, I do wish it 
weren't so, because I love Aunt Maria, and am eorrj I 
can't please her." 

"I suppose," said I, "there is no making her com|ffe- 
hend the resources we have in each other — out lore of 
juat this bright, free, natural life ! " 

"Oh dear, no I All Aunt Maria's idea of vieitiiig the 
mountains would be having rooms at the Profile Houae In 
the height of the season, and gazing in full dress at the 
mountains from the verandas, I don't think she really 
cares enough for anything here to risk wetting her feet for 
it. I dare say the poor dear soul is lying awake nighte 
now, lamenting over my loss of what I don't care for, and 
racking her brains how we may contrive to patch up > 
little decent gentility," 

"And you are as free and gay as an oriole!" 

" Certainly I am. All I wish is that we could live in 
one of these little mountain towns, just as your mother 
and uncle do. I love the hearty, simple society here," 

"Well," said I, "as we cannot, we can only try to make 
a home in New York as simple-hearted, and kindly, and 
■ unworldly as if we lived here." 

"Yes, and we can do that," said she. "Yoa have only 
to resolve to be free, and you are free. Now, that is tba 
beauty of our being married. Alone, we are parts of othei 
families, drawn along with thero — entrained, as tlia 



THE WEDDING JOUHSET 
e can do 



447 



s we pkase ; 
In our own 
monaichs of 



L 



French say; now wo are married i 
we become king and queen of a 
house we can have our own ways, 
all we survey." 

"True," said I, "and a home and a family that has an 
original and individual life of its own is always recognized 
in time as a fait accompli. You and I will be for the 
future ' The Hendersons ; ' and people will say the Hen- 
dersons do this and that, or the Hendersons don't do the 
other. They will study ua aa one studies a new State." 

"Yes," said she, taking up my idea in her vivacioas 
way, "and when they have ascertained our latitude and 
longitude, soil and productions, manners and customs, they 
can choose whether they like to visit us." 

"And you are not in the least afraid of having it said, 
' The Hendersona are odd ' i " asked I. 

"Not a bit of it," replied Eva, "so long as the oddity 
is some unusual form of comfort. For example, a aitting- 
Eoom like your uncle's, with its brass andirons and blazing 
wood fire, its books and work, its motherly lounges, would 
be a sort of exotic in New York, where people, as a matter 
of course, expect a pier-glass and marble slab, a sombre 
concatenation of cord and tassels and damask curtains, and 
a given number of French chairs and ottomans, veiled with 
linen covers, and a general funereal darkness of gentility. 
Kow, I propose to introduce the country sitting-room into 
our New York house. Your mother already has given me 
her wedding andirons — perfect loves — with shovel and 
tongs corresponding; and I am going to have a bright, 
light, free and easy room which the sunshine shall glorify." 

" But you know, my love, wood is very dear in New 
York." 

" So are curtains, and ottomans, and mirrors, and marble 
slabs, and quantities of things which we shall do without. 
And then, you see, we don't propose to warm our house 



448 MT WIFE AND I 

with a wood fire, but only to adorn it. It is an altar fire 
that we will kindle every evening, just to light up our 
room and show it to advantage. How charming every- 
thing looks at your mother's in that time between daylight 
and dark, when you all sit round the hearth, and the fire 
lights up the pictures and the books, and makes every- 
thing look so dreamy and beautiful I '' 

"You are a little poet, my dear; it will be your spe- 
cialty to turn life into poetry." 

'*And that is what I call woman's genius. To make 
life beautiful; to keep down and out of sight the hard, 
dry, prosaic side, and keep up the poetry — that is my 
idea of our * mission. ' I think woman ought to be what 
Hawthorne calls ' the Artist of the BeautifuL' " 



CHAPTER XLIV 

MY wife's VABDROBE 

Let not the reader imagine by the paragraph on Saratoga 
trunka that my little wife had done what the Scripture 
aaaunjeH is the impossihility foi womankind, and aa a bride 
forgotten her attire. Although pOBHeasing ideas of great 
moderation, ahe had not come to our mountain home with- 
out the appropriate armor of womanhood. 

I interpreted the duties of a husband after the direa- 
tiona of Michelet, and was my wife's only maid, and in all 
humility petfonned for her the office of packing and 
unpacking het trunks, and handling all those strange and 
wonderful mysteries of the toilette, which seemed to my 
. eyes penetrated with an ineffable enchantment. 

I have been struck with dismay of late, in reading the 
treatises of some very clever female reformers concerning 
the dress of the diviner sex. Is it really iu contemplation 
among them to reduce it to a level as ordinary and prosaic 
as it occupies among us men, heavy-footed sons of toilT 
Are sashes and bowa, and neck-ribbons and tiny slippers 
and gloves, to give way to thick-soled boots and buckskin 
gauntlets and broadcloth coatsl To me my wife's ward- 
robe was a daily poem, and from her use of it I derived the 
satisfaction of faculties which had Iain dormant under my 
heavy black broadcloth, like the gauzy tissue under the 
black horn wings of a poor beetle. I never looked at the 
splendid pictures of Paul Veronese and Titian in the Vene- 
tian galleries without murmuring at the severe edicts of 
modem life which send every man forth on the tide of life, 



i 



450 MY WIFE AND I 

like a black gondola condemned to one unvarying color. 
Those gorgeous velvets in all the hues of the rainbow, those 
dainty laces and splendid gems, which once were allowed 
bo us men, are all swept away, and for us there remains no 
poetry of dress. Out tailor turns us out a suit in which 
one is just like another with scarce an individual variation. 

The wife, then, the part of one's self which marriage 
gives us, affords us a gratification of these suppressed 
faculties. She is our finer self; and in her we appreciate 
and enjoy what is denied to us. I freely admit the truth 
of what women-reformers tell us, that it is the admiration 
of us men that stimulates the love of dress in women. 
It is a fact — I confess it with tears in my eyes — but it 
is the truth, that we are blindly enchanted by that play of 
fancy and poetry in their externals, which is forever denied 
to us; and that we look with our indulgent eyes even on 
what the French statesman calls their furburs de toilette. 

In fact, woman's finery never looks to another woman 
as it does to a man. It has to us a charm, a sacredness, 
that they cannot comprehend 

Under my wife's instruction I became an expert guardian 
of these filmy treasures of the wardrobe, and knew how to 
fold and unfold, and bring her everything in its place, as 
she daily performed for me the charming work of making 
up her toilette. To be sure, my slowness and clumsiness 
brought me many brisk little lectures, but my good will 
and docility were so great that my small sovereign declared 
herself on the whole satisfied with my progress. There 
was a vapory collection apparently made up of bits and 
ends of rainbows, flosses of clouds, spangles of stars, but- 
terflies and humming-birds' wings, which she turned and 
tossed over daily, with her dainty fingers, selecting a bit 
here and a morsel there, which went to her hair, or her 
neck, or her girdle, with a wonderful appropriateness, and 
in a manner to me wholly incomprehensible; only the 



MT wipe's WAKDROBE 



451 



result waa a new picture every day. This little artless 
tableau was expensive neither of time nor money, and the 
result was a great deal of very honest pleasure to ua both. 
It was her pride to be praised and admired first by me, and 
then hy my mother, and aunt, and Uncle Jacob, who 
turned her round and admired her as if she had been some 
rare tropical flower. 

Now, do the very alarmingly rational women- re formers 
I speak of propose to forbid to women in the future all 
the use of clothes escept that which is best adapted to pur- 
poses of work 1 Is the time at hand when the veil and 
orange flowers and satin slippers of the bride shall melt 
away into mist, and shall we behold at the altar the union 
of young parties, dressed alike in swallow -tailed coats and 
broadcloth pantaloons, with brass buttons! 

If this picture seems absurd, then, it must be admitted 
that there is a reason in nature why the dress of woman 
should forever remain different from that of man, in the 
same manner that tlie hand of her Creator has shaped her 
delicate limbs and golden hair differently from the rugged 
organization of man. Woman waa meant to be more than 
a worker; she was meant for the poet and artist of life; 
she was meant to be the charmer; and that is the reason, 
dear Miss Minerva, why to the end of time you cannot 
help it that women always will, and must, give more caie 
and thought to dress than men. 

To he sure, this runs into a thousand follies and extrava- 
gances; but in this as in everything else the remedy is not 
extirpation, but direction. 

Certainly my pretty wife's pretty toilettes had a success 
in our limited circle, which might possibly have been de- 
nied in fashionable society at Sarati^a and Newport. She 
was beauty, color, and life to our little world, and followed 
by almost adoring eyes wherever she went. It was aa real 
-an accession of light and joy to the simple way^ of our 



bouBebold to bare her there, as a choice picture, or a mar- 
velous BtraJn of music. My wife had to perfection the 
truly artistic gift of dress. Had she lived in Robinson 
Crusoe's island with no one to look at her hut the paroquete 
and the monkeys, and with no mirror hut a pool of water, 
she would have made a careful toilette every day, from the 
mere love of beauty; and it was delightful to see how a 
fresh, young, charming woman, by this faculty of adorn- 
meat, seemed to make the whole of the sober old house 
like a picture or a poem. 

"Sbe is like tbe blossom on a cactus," said my Uncle 
Jacob. "We have come to our flower, in her; wo have 
it in us; we all like it, but sbe brings it out; ahe is our 



In fact, it was charming to see the delight of the two 
sober, elderly matrons, my mother and my aunt, in turning 
over and surveying the pretty things of her toilette. My 
mother, with all her deUcute tastes and love of fineness and 
exquisitenesB, bad lived in these respects the self-denied 
life of a poor country minister's wife, who never baa but 
one " best pocket-handkerchief," and whom one pair of gloves 
must last through a year. It was a fresh little scene of 
delight to see the two way-worn matrons in the calm, sil- 
very twilight of their old age, sitting like a pair of amicable 
doves on the trunks in our room, while my wife displayed 
to them all her little store of fineries, and sll three chatted 
theta over with as whole-hearted a zeal ae if finery were 
one of the final ends in creation. 

Every morning it was a part of the family breakfast to 
admire some new device of berries or blossoms adapted to 
her toilette. Now, it was knots of blue violets, and now 
clusters of apple blossoms, that seemed to adapt themselves 
to the purpose, as if they had been made for it. In ths 
same manner she went about the house filling all possible 
flower vases with quaint and original combinations of leaves 
and blossoms till the house bloomed like a garland. 



M 



MY wife's wardrobe 



4fi8 



Then there were days when I have the vision of my wife 
in calico dreaa and criap white apron, taking leasonB in 
ornamental housewifery of my mother and aunt in the 
great, clean kitchen. There the three proceeded with all 
care and solemnity to perform the incantations out of which 
arose strange savory compounds of cakes and confections, 
whose recipes were family heirlooma. Out of great plat- 
ters of egg-whites, whipped into foamy maaaeB, these mys- 
tical dainties arose, as of old rose Yenus from the foam of 
the sea. 

I observe that the elderly priaateaaea in the temple of 
domestic experience have a peculiar pride and pleasure in 
the young neophyte that seeks admission to these Eleusinian 



L 



£va began to wear an air of precocious matronly grav- 
ity, as she held long discourses with my mother and aunt 
oa all the high mysteries of household ways, following 
them even to the deepest recesses of the house where they 
displayed to her their hidden treasures of fine linen and 
napery, and drew forth gifts wherewith to enrich oui fu- 

In the olden times the family linen of a bride was of her 
own spinning and that of her mother and kinswomen; so 
that every thread in it had a sacredness of family life and 
association. One can fancy dreams of peace could come in 
a bed, every thread of whose linen has been spun by 
loving and sainted hands. So, the gift to my wife from 
my mother was some of this priceless old linen, every piece 
of which had its story. These towels were spun by a be- 
loved Aunt Avis, whose life was a charming story of faith 
and patience; and those sheets and pillow-cases were the 
work of my mother's mother; they had been through the 
history of a family life, and came to us fragrant with roBe- 
mary and legend. We touched them with reverence, aa 
the relics of ascended saints. 



454 MT WIFE AND I 

Then there were the family receipt-books, which had a 
quaint poetry of their own. I must confess, in the face 
of the modem excellent printed manuals of cookery and 
housekeeping, a tenderness for these old-fashioned receipt- 
books of our mothers and grandmothers, yellow with age, 
where in their own handwriting are the records of their 
attainments and discoveries in the art of making life health- 
ful and charming. There was a loving carefulness about 
these receipts — an evident breathing of human experience 
and family life — they were entwined with so many asso- 
ciations of the tastes and habits of individual members of 
the family, that the reading of my mother's receipt-book 
seemed to bring back all the old pictures of home life; 
and this precious manual she gave to Eva, who forthwith 
resolved to set up one of her own on the model of it. 

In short, by the time our honeymoon had passed Eva 
regarded herself as a past mistress in the grand free- 
masonry of home life, and assumed toward me those grave 
little airs of instruction blent with gracious condescension 
for male inferiority which obtain among good wives. She 
began to be my little mother no less than wife. 

My mother and aunt were confident of her success and 
abilities as queen in her new dominions. It was evident 
that though a city girl and a child of wealth and fashion, 
ehe had what Yankee matrons are pleased to denominate 
"faculty," which is, being interpreted, a genius for home 
life, and she was only impatient now to return to her realm 
and set up her kingdom. 




About this time we got a very characteristic letter from 
Jim. Here it is : — 



Dear Hal, — My head buzzes like a swarm of bees. 
What haven't I done eince you leftl The Van Aiadela 
are all packing up and getting ready to move out, and of 
course I have been up making myself generally useful 
there. I have been daily call-boy and page to the adorable 
Alice. Mem. — That girl is a brick/ Didn't use to 
think so, but she 's sublimel The way she takes things is 
so confounded sensible and steudy I I reSpect her — there 'b 
not a bit of nonsense about her now — you 'd better be- 
lieve. They ate all going up to the old paternal farm to 
spend the summer with his father, and by fall there '11 be 
an arrangement to give him aa income (Van Arsdel I 
mean), so that they 'U have something to go on. They '11 
take a house somewhere in New York in the fall and do 
fairly; but think what a change to Alice! 

Oh, by the bye, Hal, the "Whang Doodle has made het 
appearance in our parts again. Yestenlay as I sat scratch- 
ing for dear life, our friend 'Dacia sailed in, cock's- feathers 
and all, large as life. She was after money, as usual, but 
this time it 's her book she insisted on my subscribing for. 
She informed me that it was destined to regenerate society, 
and she wanted five dollars for it. 

The title is: — 





456 UT WITS AND I 

THE UNTVEBBAL EMPTREAL HAHMONIAD, 

BEISG 

An Exposilion of Ihe Dual Triplicate 
Conglomeration of the Infinite. 

There, now, is a book for you. 

'Dacia was in high spirits, jaunty as ever, and informed 
me that the millonniuin was a-comjng straight along, anil 
favored me with her views of how the; intended to manage 
things in the good time. 

The great mischief at present, she informs me, lies in 
possessive pronouns, which they intend to abolish. There 
is n't to be any -niy or thy. Everybody ia to have every- 
thing just the minute they happen to want it, and every- 
body else ia to let 'em. Marriage is an old effete institu- 
tion, a relic of barbarous ages. There is to be no my of 
husband and wife, and no viij of children. The State is 
to raise all the children as they do turnips in great insti- 
tutions, and they are to belong to everybody. Love, she 
informed me, in those delightful days is to be free as air; 
everybody to do exactly as they 've a mind to; a privilege 
she remarked that she took now as her right. "If I see 
a man that pleases me," said she, "I shall not ask Priest 
or Levite for leave to have him." This was declared with 
BO martial an air that I shrank a little, but she relieved me 
by saying, "You needn't be frightened. 1 don't want 
you. You wouldn't suit me. All I want of you is your 
money." Whereat she came down to business again. 

The book she informed me was every word of it dictated 
by spirits while she was in the trance state, and was com- 
posed conjointly by Socrates, St. Pa\d, Ching Ling, and 
Jim Crow, representing different races of the earth and 
states of progression. From some specimens of the style 
which she read to me, I was led to hope that we might.-'dl 
live as long as possible, if that sort of thing is what we 
aie coming to after death. 




LETTERS FROM NEW YORK 



457 



Well, it was all funny ajid entertaining enough to hear 
her go on, but when it came to buying the book and plank- 
ing the V, I Bunked. Told 'Dacia I could n't encourage 
her in poaaeaaive pronouna, that she had no more tight to 
the book than I had, that truth was a universal birthright, 
and 30 the truths in that book were mine as much aa here, 
and as I needed a V more than ehe did I proposed she 
should buy the book of me. She did a't Bee it in that 
light, and we had high words in consequence, and she > 
poured down on me like a thousand of brick, and bo I 
coolly walked downstairs, telling her when she had dona 
scolding to shut the door. 

Isn't she a case? The Dominie was up in his den, and 
I believe she got at him after I left. Kow he managed 
lier I don't know. He won't talk about her. The Dom- 
inie is working like a Trojan, and his family are doing 
finely. The kittens are all over his room with as many 
capers as the fairies, and I hear him laughing all by him- 
self at the way they go on. We have looked at a dozen 
houses advertised in the paper, but not one yet is the bar- 
gain you want; but we trudge on the quest all our exercise- 
time daily. It will turn up yet, I 'm convinced, the very- 
thing you want. 

Heigho, Hal, you are a lucky dog. I 'm like a lean old 
■ nag out on a common, looking over a fence and seeing you 
in clover up to your hat-band. If my kettle only could 
boil for two I 'd risk about the possessive pronouns, To 
say the truth I am tired of I and my, and would like to 
Bay we and our if I dared. 

Come home anyway and kindle your tent fire, and let 
a poor tramp warm himself at it. 

Tour dog and slave, Jim. 



Bolton's letter v 



s follows : — 




458 irr WIFE AND I 

Dear Hal, — I promised you a. family cat, but I am 

going to do better by you. There is a pair of my kittena 
tliat would bring laughter to the cheeks of a dying ancho- 
rite. Tiiey are just the craziest epecimena of pure jollity 
that flesh, blood, and fur could be wrought into. Wio 
wants a comic opera at a dollar a night when a family cat 
will supply eight kittens a year) Nobody aeema to have 
found out what kittens are for. I do believe these two 
kittens of mine would cure the most obstinate hypochondria 
of mortal man, and, think of it, I am going to giva them 
to you ! Their names are Whisky and Frisky, and their 
ways are post finding out. 

The house in which the golden age pastoral is to be 
enacted has not yet been found. It is somewhere in fairy 
land, and will probably suddenly appear to you aa things 
used to, to good knights in enchanted forests. 

Jim and I went down to the steamer yesterday to see 
Miss Van Arsdel and your cousin off for Europe. They 
are part of a very pleasant party that are going together, 
and seem in high spirits. I find her articles (your cousin's) 
take well, and there is an immediate call for more. So 
far, good ! Stay your month out, my boy, and get all you 
can out of it before you come back to the "dem'd horrid 
grind " of New York. 

Ever youTB, Bolton. 

P. S. — While I have been writing. Whisky and Frisky 
have pitched into a pile of the proof-sheets of your "Milky 
Way " story, and ^lerformed a ballet dance with them bo 
that they are rather the worse for wear. No fatal harm 
done, however, and I find it reads capitally. I met Hes- 
tennann yesterday quite enthusiastic over one of your arti- 
cles in the "Democracy" that happened to hit his fancy, 
and plumed myself to him for having secured you nest 
year for bia service. So, you see, your star is in the aacend- 
ant. The Heetermanns are liberal fellows, and the place 



LETTERS FROM NEW YORK 



you have is as sui 
1 wUl have a 



i the Bank of England. So youi 
d bit of earthly ground to begin on. 



The nest was from Alice, 



ai 

L 



Dear Sister, — I am eo tired out with packing and 
all the tiioTisaiid and one things that have to be attended 
to ! You know mamma is not strong, and now you and 
Ida are gone, I am the eldeat daughter, and take everything 
on ray shoulders. Aunt Maria comes here daily, looking 
like a hearse, and I really think she depresses mamma as 
much by her lugubrious ways as she helps. She positively 
is a most provoking person. She assumes with such cer- 
tainty that mamma is a fool, and that all that has happened 
out of the way comes by some fault of hers, that when she 
has been here a day mamma is sure to have a headache. 
But I have discovered faculties and strength I never knew 
I possessed. I have taken on myself the whole work of 
separating the things we are to keep from those which are 
to be sold, and those which we are to take into the country 
with ua from those which are to be stored in New York 
for oar return, I don't know what I should have done if 
Jim Fellows hadn't been the real considerate friend he is. 
Papa is overwhelmed with settling up business matters, and 
one wants to save hira every care, and Jim has really been 
like a brother — looking up a place to store the goods, 
finding just the nicest kind of a man to cart them, and 
actually coming in and packing for me, till I told him I 
knew he must be giving us time that he wanted for hira- 
self — and all this with so much fun and jollification that 
we really have had some merry times over it, and quite 
shocked Aunt Maria, who insists on, maintaining a general 
demeanor as if there were a corpse in the house. 

One wicked thing about Jim is that he will take her off; 
and though I scold him for it, between you and me, Eva, 



and in the "biizzom of the family," as old Mia. Knabhs 
uaed to say, I must admit that it 'a a little too funny for 
anything. He can make himself look and apeak exactly 
like her, and breaks out in that way every once in a while; 
and if we teprovo him, aays, "\Vhat'8 the matter 1 Who 
are you thinking off I wasn't thinking of what you 
were." He ia a dreadful rc^ue, and one can't do anything 
with him; but what wa abould have done without him 
I 'm sure I don't know. 

Sophie EUmore called the other day, and told me all 
about things between her and Sydney. She is sending to 
Faiia for all her things, and Tullegig'a ia all in commotion. 
They are to be married early in October and go off for a 
tour in Europe. You ought to see the gloom on Aunt 
Maria's visage when the thing is talked about. If it had 
been anybody but the Elmores I think Aunt Maria could 
have survived it, but they have been her Mordecai in the 
gate all this time, and now ehe sees them triumphant. She 
speaks familiarly about our being ruined, and finally the 
other day I told her that I found ruin altogether a more 
comfortable thing than I expeeted, whereat she looked at 
me as if I were an abandoned sinner, aighed deeply, and 
said nothing. Poor aoull I oughtn't to laugh, but she 
does provoke me so I am tempted to revenge myself in a 
little quiet fun at her expense. 

The other day Jim waa telling me about a house he had 
been looking at. Aunt Maria listened with a. severe grav- 
ity and interposed with, " Of course nobody could live on 
that street. Eva would be crazy to think of it. There 
isn't a good family within squares of that quarter." 

I said yon didn't care for fashion, and she gave me one 
of her looks, and said, "I trust I aha'n't see Eva in that 
street; none hut most ordinary people live there." Only 
think, Eva, what if you should live on a street where ordi- 
nary people live 1 How dreadful I 



LETTERS FROM NEW YORK 461 

Well, darling, I can't write more; my hands are dusty 
with packing and overhauling, and I am writing now on 
the top of a box waiting for the man to cart away the next 
load. We are all well, and the girls behave charmingly, 
and are just as handy and helpful as they can be, and 
mamma says she never knew the comfort of her children 
before. 

God bless you, dear, and good-by. 

Your loving sister Alicib. 



CHAPTEE XLVI 

AUNT MABIA's dictum 

OuB lovely moon of moons had now waned, and the 
time drew on when, like Adam and Eve, we were hand in 
hand to turn our backs on paradise and set our faces toward 
the battle of life. 

"The world was all before us where to choose." In 
just this crisis we got the following from Aunt Maria: — 

My dear Eva, — Notwithstanding all that has passed, 
I cannot help writing to show that interest in your affairs 
which it may be presumed, as your aunt and godmother, 
I have some right to feel, and though I know that my 
advice always has been disregarded, still I think it my 
duty to speak, and shall speak. 

Of course, as I have not been consulted or taken into 
your confidence at all, this may seem like interference, 
but I overheard Mr. Fellows talking with Alice about 
looking for houses for you, and I must tell you that I am 
astonished that you should think of such a thing. House- 
keeping is very expensive, if you keep house with the least 
attention to appearance ; and genteel board can be obtained 
at a far less figure. Then as to your investing the little 
that your grandmother left you in a house, it is something 
that shows such childish ignorance as really is pitiable. I 
donH suppose either you or your husband ever priced an 
article of furniture at David & SauPs in your lives, and 
have not the smallest idea of the cost of all those things 
which a house makes at once indispensable. You fancy 



AUNT MARIA'S DICTUM 



463 



1 

i 



& house arranged aa you have always seen your father's, 
and do not know that the kind of marriage you have chosen 
places all these luxuries wholly out of your reach. Then 
as to the bouse itaelf, the whole of your little property 
would go but a small way toward giving you a dwelling 
any way respectable for you to live in. 

It is true there are cheap little houses in New York, but 
where, and on what streets 1 You would not want to live 
among mechanics and dentists, small clerks, and people of 
that description. Everything whan one is first married 
depends on taking a right stand in the beginning. Of 
course, since the ruin that has come on your father, and 
with which you will see I never reproach you, though you 
might have prevented it, it is necessary for all of us to be 
doubly careful. Everybody is very kind and considerate, 
and people have called and continue to invite us, and we 
may maintain our footing as before, if we give our whole 
mind to it, as evidently it is our duty to do, paying proper 
attention to appearances. I have partially engaged a place 
for you, subject of course to your and your husband's ap- 
proval, at Mivart's, which ia a place that can be spoken of 
— a place where the beat aort of people are. Mra. Mivart 
is a protegee of mine, and ia willing to take you at a cou- 
aiderahle reduction, if you take a araall back room. Thus 
you will have no cares, and no obligations of hospitality, 
and be able to turn your reaources all to keeping up the 
proper air and appearances, which with the present shock- 
ing [wices for everything, silka, gloves, shoes, etc., and the 
requirements of the times, are something quite frightful to 
contemplate. 

The course of conduct I have indicated seems specially 
necessary in view of Alice's future. The blight that comes 
on all her prospects in this dreadful calamity of your 
father's is something that lies with weight on my mind. 
A year ^o Alice might have commanded the very best o£ 



464 MT WIFE AKD I 

offers, and we had every reaeon to hope BUch an establiah- 
inent for her as her beauty and accompliahments ought to 
bring. It is a mercy to think that she will still be invited 
and have her chances, though she will have to straggle 
with her limited means to keep up a proper style; but with 
energy and attention it can be done, I have known girls 
capable of making, in secret, dresses and bonnets that were 
ascribed to the first artists. The puffed tulle in which 
SalHe Morton came to your last german was wholly of her 
own make — although of course this was told me in confi- 
dence by her mother and ought to go no farther. But if 
you take a mean little houee among ordinary law classes, 
and live in a poor, cheap, and scrubby way, of coucse you 
cut yourself off from society, and you see it degrades the 
whole family. I am sure, as I told your mother, nothing 
but your inexperience would lead you to think of it, and 
your husband being a literary man naturally would not un- 
derstand considerations of this nature. I have seen a good 
deal of life, and I give it as the result of my observation 
that there are two things that very materially influence 
standing in society ; the part of the city we live in, and 
the church we go to. Of course, I presume you will not 
think of leaving your church, which has in it the most 
select circles of New York. A wife's religious consolations 
are things no husband should interfere with, and I trust 
you will not fling away your money on a mean little house 
in a fit of childish ignorance. You will want the income 
of that money for your dress, and carriages for calls and 
other items essential to keep up life. 

I suppose you have heard that the Elmores are making 
extensive preparations for Sophie's wedding in the faU. 
When I see the vanity and instability of earthly riches, I 
cannot but be glad that there is a better world; the conso- 
lations of religion at times are all one has to turn to. Be 
careful of your health, my dear child, and don't wet your 



AUNT UAKIA'S dictum 465 

feet, Ftom your letters I should inter that you were need- 
leesly going into very damp, unpleasant places. Write me 
immediately what I am to tell them at Mivart'a. 
your affectionate aunt, 

Mabia Wouvkbmakb. 

It was aa good as a play to see my wife's face aa she 
read this letter, with flushed cheeks and an impatient tap- 
ping of her little foot that forehoded an outburst. 

"Just like her for all the world," she said, toBBing the 
letter to me, which I read with vast amusement. 

"We '11 have a house of our own as quick as we can get 
one," she said. "I think I see myself gossiping in a 
boarding- house, hanging on to the outskirts of fashion in 
the way she plans, making puffed tulle dresses in secret 
places and wearing out life to look as if I were as rich aa 
I am not, and trying to keep step with people of five times 
our income. If you catch Eva Yan Arsdel at that game, 
then tell me I " 

"Eva Van Arsdel is a being of the past, fortunately for 
me, darling." 

"Well, Eva Van Arsdel Henderson, then," said she. 
"That compound personage is stronger and more defiant of 
worldly nonsense than the old Eva dared to be." 

"And I think your aunt has no Idea of what there is 
developing in Alice." 

"To be sure she hasn't; not the remotest. Alice ie 
proud and sensible, proud in the proper way I mean. She 
was full willing to take the goods the gods provided while 
she had them, but she never will stoop to all the worries, 
and cares, and little mean artifices of genteel poverty. She 
never will dress and go out on hunting expeditions to catch 
a rich husband. I always said Alice's mind lay in two 
strata, the upper one worldly and ambitious, the second 
generous and high-minded. Our fall from wealth has been 



MY WIFE AND I 

like a, landslide; the upper stratum has slid off and left 
the lower. Alice will now ehow that ehe is both a strong 
and noble woman. Our engagement and marriage have 
whoUj converted her, and she has stood by me like a little 
Trojan all along." 

"Well," said I, "about this letter 1" 

"Oh! jou answer it for me. It's time Aunt Maria 
learned that there is a man to the fore; besides, you are 
not vesed, jou are only amused, and you can write a diplo- 
matic letter." 

"And tell her aweetly and politely, with all nifBea and 
trimmings, that it is none of her business 1 " said I. 

"Yes, just that, but of course with aJl possible homage 
of your high consideration. Then till we can find a house 
I Buppose we can find nice country board for the hot months 
near New York, where you can come out every night on 
the railroad and stay Sundays," 

"Exactly. I have the place all thought of and terras 
arranged long ago. A charming Quaker family where you 
will find the best of fruit, and the nicest of board, and the 
quietest and gentlest of boats, all for a sum quite within 

"And then," said she, "by fall I trust we shall find ^ 
house to suit us." 

"Certainly," said I, "I have faith that such a house 
is all waiting for us somewhere in the unknown future. 
"We are traveling toward it, and shall know it when we 



"Just think," said ray wife, "of Aunt Maria a 
ing that we should board so that we could ^hirk all obhga- 
tions of hospitality ! What 'a life good for if you can't 
have your friends with you, and make people happy under 

"And who would think of counting the money spent in 
hospitality 1 " said L 



" Yet I have heard of people who purposely plan to have 
no spare room in their house," answered Eva. "I remem- 
ber, now, Aunt Maria's speaking of Mrs. Jacobs with 
approbation for juat this piece of economy." 

"By which she secures money for party dresses and a 
brilliant annual entertainment, I suppose," said I. 

"Well," said Eva, "I have always imagined my home 
with friends in it. A warm peculiar comer for each one 
of yours and mine. It is the very charm of the prospect 
when I figure this, that, and the other one enjoying with 
us, and then I have the great essential of ' help ' secured. 
Do you know that there was one Mary McClellan married 
from our house years ago who was a perfect adorer at my 
shrine, and always begged me to be married that she might 
come and live with me ? Now she is a widow with a little 
girl eight years old, and it is the desire of her heart to get 
a place where she can' have her child with her. It will fit 
exactly. The little cub, under my training, can wait on 
the table and tend the door, and Mary will be meanwhile 
a mother to me in my inexperience." 

"Capital! " said I. "I am sure our star is in the as- 
cendant, and we shall hear from out house before the 
summer is through." 

One day, near the first of October, while up for a 
Sunday at our country boarding- place, I got the following 
letter from Jim Fellows: — 



i 



Mr DEAR Old Boy, — I think we have got it. I 
mean got the house. I am not quite aura what your wife 
will say, but I happened to meet Miss Alice last night and 
I told her, and she says she is sure it will do. Hear and 
understand. 

Coming down town yesterday I bought the "Herald" 
and read to my joy that Jack Fergus had been appointed 
Consul to Algiers. To say the truth we fellowa have 




MY WIFE AND I 

thought the game was pretty much up with poor Jack; hia 
throat and lungs are ao bad, and his family consumptive. 
80 I said when I read it, "Good! there 'a a thing that'll 
do." I went right round to congratulate him and found 
three or four of our fellows doing the same thing, Jack 
was pleased, said it was all right, but still I could see there 
was a hitch somewhere, and that, in fact, it was not all 
right, and when the other fellows went away I stayed, and 
then it came out. He said at once that he was glad of the 
appointment, but that he had no money; the place at 
Algiers does not support a man. He will have to give up 
his bank salary, and unless he could aell his house for ready 
money he could do nothing. I never knew he had any 
house. Heaven knows none ot the rest of us have got 
any bouses. But it seems some auot of bis, an old Ejtick- 
erbocker, left him one. Well, I asked hira why he didn't 
seU it. He said he could n't. He hod had two agenta 
there that morning. They would n't give him any encour- 
agement till the whole place was sold together. They 
wouldn't offer anything, and would only say they would 
advertise it on bis account. You see it is one of those 
betmjtt. and -between places which is going to be a business 
place, but isn't yet. So he said; and it was that which 
made me think of you and your wife, 

I asked where it was, and he told me. It is one of 
those little streets that lead out of Varick Street, if yon 
know where that is; 1 '11 bet Mrs. Henderson a dozen pair 
that she doesn't. Well, I went with him to see it when 
the bank closed, for I still thought of you. By George, I 
think you will like it. It is the last house in a block; the 
street is dull enough, hut is inhabited by decent, quiet peo- 
ple, who mind their own business. Of course the respect- 
able Mrs. Wouvermans would think it an unknown horror 
to live there; and be quite sure they were all Jews at 
Borcerera, or some other Bort of come-outers. Well, thii 



AUNT MARIAS DICTDM 469 

house itself is not like the rest of the block — having been 
built by this old Aunt Martila, or Van Beeat, or whatever 
else her name was, for her own use. It is a brick house, 
with a queer stoop, two and a half stories high (the hoase, 
not the stoop), with a bay-window on the end, going out 
on a sort of a. churchyard, across which you look to what 
is, I believe, St. John's Park' — a place with trees, and 
English sparrows, and bird-houses, and things. Jack and 
his wife have made the place look quite cosy, and managed 
to get a deal of comfort out of it. I wish I could buy it 
and take my wife there if only I had one. This place 
Jack will sell for eight thousand dollars — four thousand 
down and four thousand on mortg^e, I call that dirt 
cheap, and Livingstone, our head bookkeeper, who used to 
be a house-broker, tells me it is a bargain such as he never 
heard of, and that you can sell it at any time for more than 
that. I have taken the refusal for three days, so come 
down, both of you, bright and early Monday and look 
at it, 



So down we came; we saw; we bought. In a few days 
we were ready, key in hand, to open and walk into "Onr 
House." 

1 It unu; bnt ftlul glnce the rMent time of this Morj-, ioMtiiU com- 
DHrce hu Uken the old Park and built theiein a hugo lulway freight 




Thkbe are certaia characteristic words vMah the b 
heart loves to conjure with, and one of the strongest amang 
them is the phrase, "Our Houae." It is not my house, 
nor your houae, nor their houae, hut Our House. It is 
the inseparable we who own it, and it ia the we and the 
our that go a long way towards impregnating it with the 
charm that makes it the symbol of things most blessed and 
eternal. 

Houses have their physiognomy, as much as persona. 
There are commonplace houses, suggestive houses, attrac- 
tive houses, mysterious houses, and fascinating houses, juet 
as there are all these classes of persons. There are houses 
whose windows seem to yawn idly — to stare vacantly — 
there are houses whose windows glower weirdly, and loot 
at you askance; there are houses, again, whose very doon 
and windows seem wide open with frank cordiality, which 
seem to stretch their arms to embrace you, and woo you 
kindly to come and possess them. 

My wife and I, as we put our key into the door and let 
outaelvea into the deserted dwelling, now all our own, said 
to each other at once that it was a home-like house. It 
was built in the old style, when they had solid timbers and 
low ceilings, with great beams and large windows, with 
old-fashioned small panes of glass, but there was about it a 
sort of homely individuality, and suggestive of cosy com- 
forta. The front room had an ancient fireplace, wiA 
quaint Dutch tiles around it. The Ferguses had i 




OUR H0D8E 



471 



duced a furnace, gas, and water into it; but the fireplace 
in most of the rooms still remained, Buggeative of the old 
days in New York when wood was plenty and cheap. One 
could almost fancy that those days of roaring family hearths 
had BO heartened up the old chimneyE that a portion of the 
ancient warmth yet inhered in the house. 

"There, Harry," said my wife, exultantly pointing to 
the fireplace, "see; this is the very thing that your 
mother's brass andirons will fit into — how charmingly 
they will go with it! " 

And then those bright, sunny windows, and that bay- 
window looking actoBB upon those trees was perfectly 
lovely. In fact, the leaves of the treee shimmering in 
October light cast reflections into the room suggestive of 
country life, which, fresh from the country as we were, 
was an added charm. 

The rooms were very low studded, scarcely nine feet in 
height — and, by the bye, I believe that that feature in old 
English and Dutch house- building is one that greatly con- 
duces to give an air of comfort. A low ceiling insures ease 
in warming, and in our climate, where one has to depend 
on fires for nine months in the year, this is something 
worth while. In general, I have noticed in rooms that 
the sense of snugness and comfort dies out as the ceiling 
rises in height — rooms twelve and fifteen feet high may 
be all very grand and very fine, but they are never sociable, 
they never seem to brood over you, soothe you, and take 
you to their heart as the motherly low-browed room does. 

My wife ran all over her new dominions — exploring 
and planning, telling me volubly how she would arrange 
them. The woman was Queen here; her foot waa on her 
native heath, and she saw capahilitiea and possibilitiea with 
the eye of an artist. 

Now, I desire it to be understood that I am not indiffer- 
ent to the charms of going to housekeeping full-handed. 



472 



MY WIPE AND 1 



I do not pretend to say that my wife and I should not have 
enjoyed opening our family reign in a stone palace, OTer- 
looking New York Central Park, with all the charms of 
city and country life united, with all the uphoIetererB and 
furniture shops in New York at our feet. All this was 
none too good for our taste if we could have had it, but 
since we could not have it, we took another kind of delight, 
and one quite as vivid, in seeing how charmingly we could 
get on without it. In fact, I think there is an exultation 
in the constant victory over circumstances, in little inven- 
tions, BuhHtitutionH, and combinations, rendered necessary 
by limited means, which is wanting to those to whose hand 
everything comes without an effort. 

If, for example, the brisk pair of lobins, who have built 
in the elm-tree opposite to our bey-window, had had 8 
nest all made, and lined, and provided for them to go into, 
what an amount of tweedle and chipper, what a quantity 
of fluttering, and soaring, and singing would have been 
wanting to the commencement of their housekeeping! All 
those pretty little conversations with the Bticks and straw, 
all that brave work in tugging at a bit of twine and thread, 
which finally are carried off in triumph and wrought into 
the neat, would be a loss in nature. How much adventure 
and enterprise, how many little heart-beats of joy go into 
one robin's nest simply because Mother Nature makes them 
work it out for themselves ! 

We spent a cheerful morning merely in running over our 
house, and telling each other what we could do with it, 
and congratulating each other that it was "such a bargain," 
for, look, here is an outlook upon trees ; and here is a 
little back yard, considerably larger thou a good -sized 
pocket-handkerchief, where Mrs. Fergus had raised mignon- 
ette, heliotropes, and roses and geraniums enough to have 
a fresh morning bouquet of them daily ; and an ancient 
grape-vine planted by some old Knickerbocker, which Jack 



OUR HOUSB 478 

Fergus had trained in a sort of arbor over the dining-room 
window, and whicli at this present laomeat was hanging 
with purple cluatere of grapes. We ate of tliem, and felt 
like Adam and Eve in Paradise. What was it to ue that 
this little Eden of ours was in an unfashionable quarter, 
and that, as Aunt Maria would say, there was not a crea- 
ture living within miles of us, it was still our mystical 
"garden which the Lord God had planted eastward in 
Eden." The purchase of it, it is true, had absorbed all 
my wife's little fortune, and laid a debt upon ua — but we 
told each other that it was, after all, our cheapest way of 
renting a foothold in New York. "For, you see," said 
my wife instructively, "papa says it is a safe investment, 
as it is sure to rise in value, so that even if we want to 
sell it W6 can get more than we paid," 

" What s shrewd little trader you are getting to be ! " I 
said, admiring this profound financial' view. 

"Oh, indeed I am; and, now, Harry dear, don't let's 
go to any expense about furniture till I 've shown you what 
I intend to do. I know devices for giving a room an air 
with so little ; for example, look at this recess. I shall 
iill this up with a divan that I shall get up for nine or ten 
dollars, " 

"You get it upl" 

" Yea, I — with Mary to help me — you 'U see in time. 
We '11 have ail the comfort that coiild be got out of a sofa, 
for which people pay eighty ot ninety dollaiH, and the 
eighty or ninety dollars will go to get other things, you 
see. And then we must have a stuffed seat tunning round 
this bay-window. I can get that up. I 've seen at Stew- 
art's such a lovely piece of patch, with broad crimson 
stripes, and a sort of mauresque figure interposed. I think 
we had better get the whole of it, and that will do for one 
whole room. Let 's see. I shall make lambrequins for 
the windows, and cover the window-seats, and then we 



474 MY WIFE AND I 

shall have only to buy two or three great stuffed chairs and 
cover them with the same. Oh, you '11 see what I '11 do. 
I shall make this house so comfortable and charming that 
people will wonder to see it." 

"Well, darling, I give all that up to you; that is your 
dominion, your reign." 

" To be sure, you have all your work up at the office 
there, and your articles to write, and besides, dear, with 
all your genius, and all that, you really don't know much 
about this sort of thing, so give yourself no trouble, I 'U 
attend to it — it is my ground, you know. Now, I don't 
mean mother or Aunt Maria shall come down here till we 
have got everything arranged. Alice is going to come and 
stay with me and help, and when I want you I 'U call on 
you, for, though I am not a writing genius, I am a genius 
in these matters, as you '11 see." 

"You are a veritable household fairy," said I, "and this 
house, henceforth, lies on the borders of the fairy land. 
Troops of gay and joyous spirits are flocking to take posses- 
sion of it^ and their little hands will carry forward what 
you begin, '' 



CHAPTER XLVin 



PICNICKING 1 



NEW YORK 



Ous house seemed so far to be ours that it was appar- 
ently regarded by the firm of good fellows as much their 
affair as mine. The visits of Jim and Bolton to our quar- 
ters were daily, and sometimes even hourly. They coun- 
seled, advised, theorized, and admired my wife's generalship 
in an artless solidarity witb myself. Jim was omnipresent, 
Kow he would be seen in his shirt-sleeves nailing down a 
carpet, or unpacking a barrel, and again making good the 
time lost in these operations by scribbling hia articles on 
the top of some packing-bos, dodging in and out at all 
hours with news of discoveries of possible bargains that he 
bad bit upon in his rambles. 

For a while we merely bivouacked in the house, as of 
old the pilgrims in a caravansary, or as a picnic party might 
do, out under a tree. The bouse itself was in a state of 
growth and construction, and, meanwhile, the work of eat- 
ing and drinking was performed in moments snatched in 
the most pastoral freedom and simplicity. I must confess 
that there was a joyous, rollicking freedom about these 
times that was lost in the precision of regular housekeepers. 
When we ail gathered about Mary's cooking-stove in the 
kitchen, eating roast oysters and bread and butter, without 
troubling ourselves about table equipage, we seemed to 
come closer to each other than we could in months of or- 
derly housekeeping. 

Our cookiug-atove was Bolton's especial proteg^ and pet. 
He had studied the subject of stoves, for our sakes, with 



MT VriTE AND I 

praiseworthy pereeverance, and aitei philoEopbic investiga- 
tion had pereuaded us to buy this one, and of course had 
a fatherly interest in its well-doing. I have the image of 
him now as he sat, seriously, with the book of directions 
in his hand, reading and explaining to ub all, while a set 
of mufflna were going through the experimentwm, erveii 
— the oven. The muffins were excellent, and we ate them 
hot out of the oven with gladuesa and singleness of heart, 
and agreed that we had touched the absolute in the matter 
of cooking- stoves. All my wife's plans and achievements, 
all hot bargains and successes, were reported and admired 
in full conclave, when we all looked in at night, and took 
our snack together in the kitchen. 

One of my wife's enterprises was the regeneration of the 
dining-room. It had a pretty window draped pleasantly 
by the grape-vine, but it had a dreadfully common wall- 
paper, a paper that evidently had been chosen for no other 
reason than because it was cheap. It had moreover a 
wainscot of dark wood running round the side, so that 
what with our low ceiling, the portion covered by this 
offending paper was only four feet and a half wide. 

I confess, in the multitude of things on liand in the 
work of reconstniction, I was rather disposed to put up 
with the old paper as the best under the ciicumetancea. 

"My dear," said I, "why not let pretty well aloneJ" 

"My darling child I" said my wife, "it is impossible — 
that paper is a horror." 

"It certainly isn't pretty, but who caresi" said I. "I 
don't see so very much the matter with it, and you are 
undertaking so much that you '11 he worn out." 

"It will wear me out to have that paper, so now, tiairy 
dear, be a good boy, and do just what I tell you. Go to 
Berthold &. Capstick's and bring me one roll of plain black 
paper, and six or eight of plain crimson, and wait then to 
lee what I'll da" 



PItJNICKING IN NEW TOilt 

The result on a certain day after was that I found my 
dining-room transfonued into a Pompeilan salon, by the 
busy fingers of the house fairiee. 

The ground-work was crimaon, but there vas a seriea of 
black panels, in each of which was one of those floating 
Pompeiian figurea which the traveler in Italy buys for a 
trifle in Naples. 

"There now," said my wife, "do you remember my 
portfolio of cheap Neapolitan printsi Haven't I made 
good use of them? " 

"You are a witch," said I, "You certainly can't paper 
walla." 

"Can't I! haven't I as many fingers as your mother 1 
and she has done it time and again; and this ib such a 
crumb of a wall. Alice and Jim and I did it to-day, and 
have had real fun over it." 

!"Jint1" said I, looking amused. 
" Jiml " said my wife, nodding with a significant laugh, 
"Seema to me," said I, 
"So it seems to me," said she. After a pause ahe 
added, with a smile, " But the creature is both entertaining 
and useful. We have had the greatest kind of a frolic 
I over this wall." 

i"But, really," said I, "this case of Jim and Alice is 
getting serious." 
"Don't say a word," said my wife, laughing. "They 
are in the F's; they have got out of Flirtation and into 
Friendship. " 
!' "And friendship between a girl like Alice and a young 

man, on his part soon gets to mean " — 
"Oh, well, let it get to mean what it will," said my 
L ■wife; "they are having nice times now, and the best of it 
1 is, nobody sees anything but you and I. Nobody bothers 
a Alice, or aaka her if she is engaged, and she is careful to 
K inform me that she regards Jim quite as a brother. You 




MV WIFE AND I 

I advantage of oui living where nobody 
ua — we can all do just as we like. This little 
8 Eobiason CruBoe'e island — in th? middle of New 
York. But now, Harrj, there is one thiog you ninst do 
toward this room. There must be a little gilt moulding to 
finish off the top and aides. You just go to Berthold & 
Capatick's and get it. See, here are the figurea," ehe Eaid, 
showing her memorandum- book. "We shall want Just 
that much. " 

"But can we put it up! " 

" No, but you just epeak to little Tim Brady, who is a 
clerk there — Tim used to be a boy in father's office — he 
will like nothing better than to come and put it up for us, 
and then we shall be fine as a new fiddle." 

And so, while I was driving under a great pressure of 
buainesa at the office daily, ray home was growing leaf by 
leaf, and unfolding flower by flower, under the creative 
hands of my home-queen and sovereign lady. 

Time would fail me to relate the enterprises conceived, 
carried out, and prosperously finished under her hands. In- 
deed, I came to have such a reverential belief in her power 
that had she announced that she intended to take my house 
up bodily and set it down in Japan, in the true " Arabian 
Nights " style, I should not in the least have doubted her 
ability to do it. The bouse was as much an expression of 
my wife's personality, a thing wi'onght out of her being, 
as any picture painted by an artist. 

Many homes have no personality. They are made by 
the upholsterers; the things in them express the tastes of 
David & Saul, or Berthold & Capstick, or whoever else 
of artificers undertake the getting up of houses. But our 
house formed itself around my wife like the pearly shell 
around the nautilus. My home was Eva, — she the schem- 
ing, the busy, the creative, was tiie life, soul, and spirit 
of all that was there. 



PICinCEING IN NEW TOBK 



479 



Is not this a species of high art, by which a house, in 
itself cold and barren, becomes in every part warm and in- 
viting, glowing with suggestion, alive with human tastes 
and personalities 1 Wall- paper, paint, furniture, pictures, 
in the hands of the home artist, ai's like the tubes of paint 
out of which arises, as by inspiration, a picture. It is the 
woman who combines them into the wonderful creation 
which we call a home. 

When I came home from my office night after night, 
and was led in triumph by Eva to view the result of her 
achievements, I confess I began to remember with approba- 
tion the old Greek mythology, and no longer to wonder 
that divine honors had been paid to household goddesses. 
It seemed to me that she had a portion of the talent of 
creating out of nothing. Our house had literally nothing 
in it of the stereotyped seta of articles expected as a matter 
of course in good families, and yet it looked cosy, comfort- 
able, inviting, and with everywhere a suggestion of ideal 
tastes, anil an eye to beauty. There were chambers which 
seemed to be built out of drapery and muslins, every detail 
of which, when explained, was a marvel of results at small 
expense. My wife had an aptitude for bargains, and when 
a certain article was wanted, supplied it from some second- 
hand store with such an admirable adaptation to the place 
that it was difficult to persuade ourselves after a few days 
that it had not always been exactly there, where now it 
was so perfectly adapted to be. 

In fact, her excursions into the great sea of New York 
and the spoils she brought thence to enrich our bower 
reminded me of the process by which Robinson Crusoe 
furnished his island home by repeated visits to the old ship 
which was going to wreck on the shore. From the wreck 
of other homes came floating to ours household belongings, 
which we landed reverently and baptized into the fellow- 
ship of our own. 



CHAPTER XLIX 



"Do you know, Harry," said my wife to roe one t 
ing when I came liome to dinner, "I hare made a discoT* 
ery!" 

Now, the tmtli was, that my wife was one of those 

lively, buay, active, enterprising little women, who are 
alwaya making incident for themselves and their fiientlB; 
and it was a regular part of my anticipation, as I plodded 
home from my office, tired and work-worn, to conjecture 
what new thing Eva would find to tell me that night. 
What had she done, or altered, or made up, or arranged, 
as she alwuys met me full of her subject J 

"Well," said I, "what is this great discovery!" 

"My dear, I '11 tell you. One of those dumb hoiiBOS in 
our neighborhood has suddenly become alive to me. I 've 
made an acquaintance." 

Now, I knew that my wife was just that social, convers- 
ing, conversable creature that, had she been in Bobinaon 
Crusoe's island, would have struck up confidential relations 
with the monkeys and paroquets, rather than not have 
somebody to talk to. Therefore, I was not in the least 
surprised, but quit« amused, to find that she had begun 
neighboring in our vicinity. 

"You don't tell me," said I, "that you have begun to 
cultivate acquaintances on this street, so far from the cen- 
tres of fashion t " 

"Well, I have, and found quite a 
very next door." 



lar irom tne cen- i 
treasure, in aUii^J 



"And pray now, for cnrioaity'B sake, how did you mim- 
age it 7" 

" Well, to tell the truth, Hairy, I 'm the worst pereon 
in the world for keeping up what 's called select society; 
and I never could bear the feeling of not knowing anything 
alwnt anybody that lives nest to me. Why, auppoae wa 
should be sick in the night, or anything happen, and we 
not have a creature to speak to! It seems dreary to think 
of it. So I was curious to know who lived next door; 
and I looked down from our chamber window into the nest 
back yard, and saw that whoever it was had a right cunning 
little garden, with nasturtiums and geraniums, and chrysan- 
themums, and all sorts of pretty things. Well, this morn- 
ing I saw the sweetest little dove of a Quaker woman, in 
ft gray dress, with a pressed crapo cap, moving about aa 
quiet as a chip sparrow among the flowers. And I took 
quite a fancy to her, and begEin to think how I should 
make her acquaintance." 

"If that is n't just like youl " said I. "WeU, did yon 
run in and fall on her neck 1 " 

"Not exactly. But, you see, we had aU our windows 
open to air the rooms, and my very best pocket-handker- 
chief lay on the bureau. And the wind took it up, and 
whirled it about, and finally carried it down into that back 
yard; and it lit on her geranium bush. 'There, now,' 
Bail! I to Alice, ' there 'a a providential opening, I 'm just 
going to run right down and inquire about my pocket-hand- 
kerchief.' Which I did: I just stepped off from our stoop 
on to her door-step, and rang the bell. Meanwhile, I saw, 
on a nice, shining door-plate, that the name was Baxter. 
Well, who should open the door but the brown dove in 
person, looking just as pretty as a pink in her cap and drab 
gown. I declare, Harry, I told Alice I 'd a great mind to 
adopt the Quaker costume right away. It 'e a great deal 
more becoming than all our finery." 






482 MT WIFE AHD I 

"Well, my dear," said I, "that introduces a large aub- 
ject; and I want to hear what came next." 

"Oh, well, I spoke up, and said, 'Dear Mrs, Baxter, 
pray excuse me; hut I 've been bo very careless as to lose 
my handkerchief down in your back yard. ' You ought to 
have seen the pretty pink color rise in her cheeks; and sha 
said in such a cunning way, ' I '11 get it for tbee I ' 

" ' Oh, dear, no,' said I, ' don't trouble yourself. Please 
let me go out into your pretty little garden there. ' 

"Well, the upshot was, we went into the garden and 
had a long chat about the flowers. And she picked me 
quite a bouquet of geraniumB. And then I told her all 
about out little garden, and how I wanted to make thingB 
grow in it, and didn't know how; and asked her if she 
wouldn't teach me. Well, then, she took me into the 
niceet little drab nest of a parlor that ever you saw. The 
carpet was drab, and the curtains were drab, and the sofas 
and chairs were all covered with drab ; but the windows 
were perfectly blazing with flowers. She had most gor- 
geous nasturtium vines trained all aroimd the windows, and 
scarlet geraniums that would really make your eyes wink to 
look at them, I could n't help laughing a little to mysdf, 
that they make it a part of their religion not to have any 
color, and then fall back upon all these bigh-colored opera- 
tions of the Lord by way of brightening up their houses. 
However, I got a great deal of instruction out of her, and 
she 'a going to come in and show me how to arrange my 
ferns and other things I gathered in the country, in a 
Ward's case; and she "a going to show me, too, how to 
plant an ivy, so as to have it grow all around this bay-win- 
dow. The inside of hers ia a perfect bower," 

"I perceive," said I, "the result of all was that you 
swoie eternal friendship on the spot, just like the Eva that 
you are." 

" Precisely. " 



NEIGHBORS 



483 



"And you didn't have the fear of your gentility before 
yonr eyes ! " 

"Not a bit, I always have detested gentility." 

"Ton don't even know the business of her husband." 

"But I do, though. He 'b a watchmaker, and works for 
Tiffany & Co. I know, because she showed me a curious 
little clock of his construction ; and these things came out 
in a parenthesis, you see." 

"I Bee the hopeless degradation which this will imply . 
in Aunt Maria's eyes," said I. 

"A fig for Aunt Maria, and a fig for the world! I 'm 
married now, and can do as I 've a mind to. Besides, you 
know Quakers are not world's people. They have come 
out from it, and don't belong to it. There 's something 
really refreshing about this dear little body, with her 
' thees ' and her ' thous ' and her nice little ways. And 
they 're young married people, just like us. She 's been 
in this house only a year. But, Harry, she knows every- 
body on the street, — not in a worldly way, but in the way 
of her sect. She 's made a visitation of Christian love to 
every one of them. Now, is n't that pretty J She 'a been 
to see what she could do for them, and to offer friendship 
and kind offices. Isn't that sort of Arcadian, now! " 

" Well, and what does she tell you ) " 

" Oh, there are a great many interesting people on this 
Btreet. I can't tell you all about it now, but some that 
I think we must try to get acquainted with. In the third 
story of that house opposite to us is a poor French gentle- 
man, who came to New York a political refugee, hoping to 
give lessons; hut has no faculty for getting along, and his 
wife, a delicate Httle woman with a baby, and they 're 
very, very poor. I 'm going with her to visit them some 
time this week. It seems this dear little Ruth was with 
her when her haby was born, — this dear little Ruth 1 It 
struck me so curiously to see bow interesting she thinks 
everybody on this street is." 



L 



4U MY WIFE AND I 

"Simply," said I, "because she IooIcb at them from tlw 
Chrifltiftn standpoint. Well, dear, I can't but tbink youi 
new acquaintance is aa acquisition." 

"And only think, Hanj, this nice little person is one 
of the people that Aunt Maria calls nobody ; not rich, not 
fashionable, not of the world, in short; but just as sweet 
and lovely and relined as she can be. I think those plain, 
sincere manners are so charming. It makes you feel so very 
near to people to have them call you by your Christian 
name right away. She calls me Eva and I call her Kuth; 
and I feel somohow aa if I must always have known her." 

"I want to see her," said I. 

" You muat. It '11 amuse you to have her look at yoa 
with her grave, quiet eyes, and call you Hairy Henderson. 
What an effect it has to bear one's simple, common name, 
without fuss or title ! " 

"Yes," said I, "I remember how long I called you Eva 
in my heart, while I was addressing you at aim's length as 
Miss Van Arsdel, " 

" It was in the Park, Harry, that we lost the Mr. and 
Miss, never to find them again," 

"I 've often thought it atrimge," said I, "how these nn- 
woildly modes of speaking among the Quakers seem to have 
with them a certain dignity. It would be an offense, a 
piece of vulgar forwardness, in most people to address you 
■ by your Clmatian name. But, with them it seems to be 
aa attempt at realizing a certain ideal of Christian simpli- 
city and sincerity, which one almost loses sight of in the 
conventional course of life," 

"I was .very much amused," said my wife, "at ber tell- 
ing me of one of her visits of Christian love to a Jew 
family, living on this street. And really, Harry, she has 
learned an amount of good about the Jews, from cultivat- 
ing an intimacy with this family, that is quite astoniah- 
ing. I 'd no idea how good the Jews were." 



NEIGHBORS 485 

"Well, my little High Church darling," said I, "you 're 
in a fair way to become ultra-liberal, and to find that what 
you call the Church does n't come anywhere near represent- 
ing the whole multitude of the elect in this world. I com- 
fort myself with thinking, all the time, how much more 
good there is in the world and in human nature than ap- 
pears on the surface.'' 

"And, now, Harry, that you and I have this home of 
our own, we can do some of those things with it that our 
friends next door seem to be doing. I thought we might 
stir about and see if we couldn't get up a class for this, 
poor Frenchman, and I 'm going to call on his wife. In 
fact, Harry, I 've been thinking that it must be one's own 
fault if one has no friends in one's neighborhood. I can't 
believe in living on a street, and never knowing or caring 
whether your next-door neighbor is sick or dead, simply 
because you belong to a circle up at the other end of the 
city." 

" Well, dear, you know that I am a democrat by nature. 
But I am delighted to have you make these discoveries for 
yourself. It was bad enough, in the view of your friends, 
I presume, for me to have come between you and a fashion- 
able establishment, and a palace on the Park, without being 
guilty of introducing you into such very mixed society as 
the course that you 're falling into seems to promise. But 
wherever you go I '11 follow." 




MT WIFE PK0JECT8 HOSPITALITIES 

"My dear," said my wife to me at breakfast, "our house 
is about done. To be eure there are ever BO many little 
jiicetiea that I have n't got at yet, btit it 's pretty enough 
now. So that I 'm not at all ashamed to show it to mamma 
or Aunt Maria, or any of them. " 

"Do you think," said I, "that last-named respectable 
individual could possibly think of countenancing ue, when 
we have only an ingrain carpet on our parlor and nothing 
but mattings on the chambers, and live down here where 
nobody lives J " 

" Well, poor soul 1 " said Eva, " she ' 11 have to accept it 
as one of the trials of life, and have recourse to the conso- 
lations of religion. Then, after all, Harry, I really am 
proud of our parlor. Of course, ive 've had the good luck 
to have a good many handsome ornaments given to us; so 
that, though we haven't the regulation things that people 
generally get, it does look very bright and pretty." 

"It's perfectly lovely," said I. "Our bouse to me is 
a perfect dream of loveliness. I think of it all day from 
time to time when I 'm at work in my office, and am 
always wanting to come home and see it again, and have 
a little curiosity to know what new thing you 've accom- 
plished. So far, your career has been a daily succession 
of triumphs, and the best of it is that it 's all go much like 

"So," said she, "that I can't be jealous at your loving 
the house eo much. I suppose you think it as much a 



MY WIFE PEOJKOTS HOSPITALITIES 



48? 






me as the shell on a, turtle's back. Well, now, 
e invite mothei and Aunt Maria, and all the folka 
down here, I propoae that we have just a nice little house- 
warming, with our own little private particular set, who 
know how to appreciate us." 

"Agreed!" said I; "Bolton, and Jim, and Alice, and 
you, and 1 wiU have a commemoration-dinner together. 
Our fellows, jou see, seem to feel as much interested in 
this house as if it were their own." 

"I know it," said she. "Isn't it really amusing to aee 
the grandfatheily concern that Bolt«n has for our cooking- 

"Ohl Bolton has staked his character on that etove," I 
said. "Its Bucceas ia quite a personal matter now." 

"Well, it does bake admirably," said my wife, "and I 
think our dinner will be a perfect success, so far as that ia 
concerned. And, do you know, I 'm going to introduce 
that new way of- doing up cold chicken which I 've in- 
vented." 

"Ybb," said I, "we shall christen it Chicken a la Eva." 

"And I've been talking with our Mary about it, and 
she 'b quite in the spirit of the affair. You see, like 
all Irishwomen, Mary perfectly worships the boys, and 
thinks there never was anybody like Mr. Bolton and Mr. 
Jim; and, of course, it 'e quite a labor of love with her. 
Then I 've been giving her little cub there a series of les- 
sons to enable her to wait on table ; and she is all exercised 
with the prospect. " 

"Why," said I, "the little flibberty-gibbet is hardly as 
high as the table." 

"Oh, never say that before her. She feels very high 
indeed in the world, and is impressed with the awful grav- 
ity and responsibility of being eight years old. I have 
made her a white apron with pockets, in which her soul 
delights; and her mother has starched and ironed it till it 



488 MY WIFE AND I 

shines with whiteness. And she is learning to brush the 
table-cloth, and change plates in the most charming way, 
and with a gravity that is quite overcoming." 

" Capital ! '' said I. " And when shall it be 1 " 

"To-morrow night." 

" Agreed ! I 'U tell the fellows this is to be a regular 
blow-out, and we must do our very prettiest, which is very 
pretty indeed," said I, "thanks to the contributions of our 
numerous friends. For my part, I think the fashion of 
wedding presents has proved a lucky thing for us." 

"Even if we have six pie-knives, and no pie to eat with 
them," said my wife, "as may happen in our establishment 
pretty often." 

"Still," said I, "among them all there are a sufficiency 
of articles that give quite another aspect to our prudent 
little house from what it would wear if we were obliged to • 
buy everything ourselves." 

"Yes," said my wife, "and one such present as that set 
of bronzes on the mantelpiece gives an air to a whole 
room. A mantelpiece is like a lady's bonnet. It 's the 
headpiece of a room, and if that be pleasing the rest is a 
good deal taken for granted. Then, you see, our parlor is 
all of a warm color, — crimson carpet, crimson curtains, — 
everything warm and glowing. And so long as you have 
the color it is n't a bit of matter whether your carpet cost 
three dollars and a half a yard or eighty-seven cents, and 
whether your curtains are damask or Turkey red. Color 
is color, and will produce its effects, no matter in what 
material. " 

"And we men," said I, "never know what the material 
is, if only the effect is pleasant. I always look at a room 
as a painting. It never occurs to me whether the articles 
in it are cheap or dear, so that only the general effect is 
warm, and social, and agreeable. And that is just what 
you have made these rooms. I think the general effect of 



[ 



HY Wm: PBOJECTB HOSPITALITIES 489 

the rooms, either by daylight, or lamplight, or firelight, 
vould be to make a person like to stay iu them, and whan 
he had left them want to tome back." 

"Yea," said my wife, "I flatter myself our rooms have 
the air of belonging to people that are having nice times, 
and enjoying themselves, aa we are. And, for my own 
part, I feel like sitting right down in them. All that 
round of party-going, and calling, and visiting that I used 
to have to keep up Beema to me really wearisome. I want 
you to understand, Harry, that it 's not the slightest sacri- 
fice in the world for me to give it up. I 'm just happy to 
be out of it." 

"You see," said I, "we can sit-down here and make 
our own world. Those that we really like very much and 
who like us very much will come to us. My ideal of good 
society is of a few congenial persona who can know each 
other very thoroughly, ho as to feel perfectly acquainted 
and at home with one another. That was the secret df 
those reunions that went on so many years around Madame 
Recamier. It made no difl'erence whether she lived in a 
palace, or a little obscure street ; her friends were real 
friends, and followed her everywhere. The French have 
made a science of the cultivation of friendship, which is 
worth study." 

Thus my wife and I chatted, and felicitated each other, 
in those first happy home-making days. There was never 
any end to our subjects of mutual conversation. Every 
little change in our arrangements was fruitful in conversa- 
tion. We hung our pictures here at first, and likfed them 
well, but our maturer second thoughts received bright in- 
spirations to take them down and hang them there; and 
then we liked them better. I must say, by the bye, that I 
had committed one of those extravagances which lovers do 
commit when they shut their eyes and go it blind. I had 
bought hack the pictures of Eva's little boudoir from 



490 MY WIFE AND I 

GoupiPs. The fact was that there was a considerahle 
sympathy felt for Mr. Van Arsdel, and one of the members 
of the concern was a nice fellow, with whom I had some 
pleasant personal acquaintance. So that the redemption 
of the pictures was placed at a figure which made it possi- 
ble for me to accomplish it. And the pictures themselves 
were an untold store of blessedness to us. I believe we 
took them all down and hung them over four times, on 
four successive days, before we were satisfied that we had 
come to ultimate perfection. 



CHAPTER LI 

PREPARATIONS FOB OUR DINNER-PARTY 

"Habkt," said my wife, the morning of the day of our 

projected house-warming, "there 'b one thing you muBt get 



" Well, Princess 1 " 

"Well, you know you and I don't care for wine and 
don't need it, and can't aiFord it, but I have Buch a pretty 
Bet of glasses and decanters, and you must get me a couple 
of bottles just to set off our table for celebration." 

Immediately I thought of Boiton'a letter, of what he 
had told me of the effect of wine upon hia senses at Hester- 
mann'e dinner table. I knew it must not be at ours, but 
how to explain to my wife without compromising himT 
At a glance I saw that all through the future my intimacy 
with Bolton must be guided and colored by what I knew 
of bis history, his peculiar struggles and temptations, and 
that not merely now, but on many future occasions, I 
should need a full understauding with my wife to act as I 
should be obliged to act. I reflected that Eva and I had 
ceased to be two and bad become one, that I owed her an 
unlimited confidence in those respects where my actions 
must involve her comfort, or wishes, or cooperation. 

"Eva, darling," I said, "you remember I told you there 
was a mystery about the separation of Bolton and Caro- 

"Yes, of course," said she, wondering; "but what has 
this to do with this wine question! " 

" A great deal, " I said, and going to my desk I took out 



492 MY WIFE AND I 

Bolton's letter and put it into her hand. ''Bead that» my 
dear, and then tell me what to do." She took it and read 
with something of the eagerness of feminine curiosity while 
I left the room for a few moments. In a little while she 
came after me and laid her hand on my arm. 

"Harry, dear," she said, "I'll stand hy you in this 
thing. His secret shall be sacred with me, and I will make 
a safe harbor for him where he may have a home without 
danger. I want our house to seem like a home for him." 

"You are an angel, Eva." 

" Well, Harry, I must say I always have had conscience 
about offering wine to some young men that I knew ought 
to keep clear of it, but it never occurred to me in regard 
to such a grave, noble man as Bolton." 

" We never know who may be in this danger. It is a 
diseased action of the nervous system — often inherited 
— a thing very little understood, like the tendency to in- 
sanity or epilepsy. But while we know such things are, 
we cannot be too careful." 

"I should never have forgiven myself, Harry, if I had 
done it." 

" The result would have been that Bolton would never 
have dined with us again; he is resolute to keep entirely 
out of all society where this temptation meets him," 

"Well, we don't want it, don't need it, and won't have 
it. Mary makes magnificent coffee, and that 's ever so 
much better. So that matter is settled, Harry, and I 'm 
ever and ever so glad you told me. I do admire him so 
much! There is something really sad and noble in his 
struggle. " 

"Many a man with that temptation who fails often 
exercises more self-denial and self-restraint than most Chris- 
tians," said I. 

"I 'm sure I don't deny myself much. I generally want 
to do just what I do," said Eva. 



PREPARATIONS FOR OUB DINNEK-PARTY 49S 

" You always want to do all that la good and geneious, " 

"I think, on the whole," said Eva reflectively, "my 
Belf-denial ia in not doing what other people want me to. 
I 'm like Mta. Quickly. I want to please everyhody. I 
wanted to please mamma and Annt Maria." 

"And carao very near marrying a man you couldn't love 
purely to oblige people." 

"If you hadn't rescued me," she Baid, laughing. "But 
now, Harry, really I want some little extravagance about 
our dinner. So if we don't have wine, buy the nicest of 
grapea and peara, and I will arrange a pretty fruit piece for 
the centre of the table." 

"My love, I will get you all the grapes and peara-you 
want." 

"And my little Ruth has sent me in thia lovely tumbler 
of apple jelly. You see, I held sweet counsel with her yes- 
terday on the subject of jelly-making, where I am only a 
novice, and hers is splendid; literally now, splendid, for 
see how the light shines through it I And do you think, 
the generous little Fuaa actually sent me in half a dozen 
tumblers. " 

"What a perfect saint! " said I, 

"And I am to have all the flowers in her garden. She 
says the frost will take them in a day or two if we don't, 
Harry, next summer we must take lessons of her about our 
little back yard. I never saw so much made of so little 
ground." 

"She'll be only too delightful," said I. 

"Well, now, mind you are home at five. I want you 
to look the house over before your friends come, and see if 
I have got everything as pretty as it can be." 

"Are they to ' process ' through the honae and see your 
blue room, and your pink room, and your gueat chamber, 
and all) " 



494 MY WIFE AND I 

" Yes. I want them to see all through how pretty the 
rooms are, and then sometimes, perhaps, we shall tempt 
them to stay all night.'' 

''And sleep in the chamber that is called Peace," said 
I, "after the fashion of Pilgrim's Progress." 

"Gome, Harry, begone. I want you to go, so as to be 
sure and come back early." 



CHAPTER HI 



THS HOtrSE-WABHINO 

Dear reader, fancy now a low-studded room, with c 
sou curtaina and carpet, a deep recesa filled by a 
divan witli piUowa, the lower part of the room taken up 
by a row of book-abelveB, throe feet high, which ran all 
round the room and accommodated my library. The top 
of this Conned a convenient ahelf, on which all our pretty 
little wadding presents — statuettes, bronzea, and articles 
of vertu — were arranged. A fireplace, surrounded by an 
old-faahioned border of Dutch tilea, with a pair of grand- 
motherly brass andirons, rubbed and polished to an extreme 
of brightness, exhibits a wood fire, all laid in order to be 
lighted at the touch of the match. My wife baa dressed 
the bouae with (lowers, which our pretty little neighbor 
haa almost stripped her garden to contribute. There are 
vases of iire-colored nasturtiums and many-hued chryaan- 
themums, the arrangement of which has coat the little artiat 
an afternoon's study, but which I pronounce to be perfect. 
I have come home from my office an hour earlier to see if 
ahe has any commands. 

"Here, Harry," ahe says, with a flushed face, "I believe 
everything now is about as perfect as it can be. Now 
come and stand at this door, and see how you think it 
will strike our friends, when they first come in. You see 
I've heaped up those bronze vases on the mantel with 
nothing but naaturtiuma ; and it has such a surprising efiect 
in that dark bronze 1 Then I've arranged those white 
chryaanthemuma right against these crimson curtains. And 



i 



MT WIFE AHD 1 

now como out m the dining-room, and see how I 've set 
the dinner table ! You see, I 've the prettiest posaible cen- 
tre-piece of fruit and flowers. Isn't it lovely?" 

Of course I kissed her and said it was lovely, and that 
she was lovelier; and she was a regular little enchantress, 
witch, and fairy-queen, and ever so much more to the 
same purport. And then Alice came down, all equipped 
for conquest, as pretty an additional ornament to the house 
as heart could desire. And when the clock was on the 
stroke of six, and we heard the feet of our guests at the 
door, we lighted our altar-fire in the fireplace ; for it nmst 
be understood that this was a p\ire eovp de theatre, a 
brightening, yivifying, ornamental luxury — one of the 
things we were determined to have, on the strength of 
having determined not to have a great mauy others. How 
proud we were when the tlaze streamed up and lighted the 
whole room, fluttered on the pictures, glinted here and 
there on the gold bindings of the books, made dreamy 
lights and deep shadows, and called forth all the bright 
glowing color of the crimson tinla which seemed to give 
out their very heart to firelight! My wife was evidently 
proud of the effect of all things in out rooms, which Jim 
declared looked warm enough to bring a dead man to 
life. 

Bolton was seated in due form in a great, deep armchair, 
which, we informed him, we had bought especially with 
reference to him, and the corner was to be known hence- 
forth as his corner, 

"Well," said he, with grave delight, "I have brought 
my final contribution to your establishment;" and forth- 
with from the capacious hinder pockets of his eoat ho drew 
forth a pair of kittens, and set them down on the hearth- 
rug. "There, Harry," he said gravely, "there are a 
pair of ballet dancers that will perform for you gratis, at 
any time." 



THB HOUSE-WAHUING 497 

"Oh, the little witchBs, the perfect loves!" Baid my 
wife and Alice, rushing at them. 

Eolton very gravely produced from hia pocket two long 
stringH with corka attached to thom, and hanging them to 
■ the gas fixtures, began, as ho said, to exhibit the ballet 
dancing, in which we all became profoundly interested. 
The wonderful leaps and flings and other achievements of 
the jwrfocmers occupied the whole time till dinner was 
announced. 

"Now, Harry," said my wife, "if we let Little Cub see 
the kittens before she 'e waited on table, it '11 utterly de- 
moralize her. So we must shut them in careiully," which 



i 



I don't think a dinner party was ever a more brilliant 
BUGCess than ours; partly owing to the fact that we were 
a mutual admiration society, and our guests felt about as 
much sense of appropriation and property in it as we did 
ourselves. The house was in a sort of measure "our 
house," and the dinner "out dinner," In short, we were 
all of ue strictly en famille. The world was one thing, 
and we were another ontside of it and by ourselves, and 
having a remarkably good time. Everybody got some 
share of praise. Mary got praised for her cooking. The 
cooking-stove was glorified for bating so well, and Bolton 
was glorified for recommending the cooking-stove, And 
Jim and Alice and my wife congratulated each other on 
the lovely looks of the dining-room. We shuddered to- 
gether in mutual horror over what the wall-paper there had 
been; and we felicitated the artists that had brought such 
brilliant results out of so little. The difliculties that had 
been overcome in matching the paper and arranging the pan- 
els were forcibly dwelt upon ; and some sly jokes seemed to 
pass between Jim and Alice, applicable to certain turns of 
events in these past operations. After dinner we had most 
transcendent coffee, and returned to our parlor as gay of 



498 UT WIFS ASD I 

heart as if we had been merry with wine. The kitteua 
had got thoroughly at home by that time, having investi- 
gated the whole of the aijartment, and began exhibiting 
some of their most irreHistible antics with a social auccesa 
among us of a most flattering nature. Alice declared that 
she should call them Taglioni and Madame Celeste, and 
proceeded to tie blue and pink bows upon their necks, 
which they scratched and growled at in quite a warlike 
manner. A low whine from the entry interrupted ua; and 
Eva, opening the door and looking out, saw poor old 
Stumpy Bitting on the mat, with the most good-dog ail of 
dejected patience. 

"Why, here's Stumpy, poor fellow!" she said. 

"Oh, don't trouble yourself about him," said Bolton, 
"I've taught him to sit out ou the mat. He's happy 
enough if he only thinks I 'm inside." 

" But, poor fellow," said Eva, " he looks &b if he 
wanted to come in. " 

"Oh, he '11 do well enough; never mind him," aaid Bol- 
ton, looking a little embarrassed. " It was silly of me to 
bring him, only he is so desolate to have me go out with- 
out him. " 

"Well, he shall come in," said Eva. "Come in, you 
poor homely old fellow," she said. "I dare say you 're as 
good as an angel; and to-night 's my house-warming, and 
not even a dog shall have an ungratified desire, if I can 

So poor Stumpy was installed by Bolton in the comer, 
and looked perfectly beatified. 

And now, while we have brought all our characters be- 
fore the curtain, and the tableau of the fireside is complete, 
as we sit there all around the hearth, each perfectly at 
home with the other, in heart and mind, and with even 
the poor beasts that connect us with the lower world 



THE HOUSE-WARMING 499 

brightening in our enjoyment, this is a good moment for 
the curtain to fall on the fortunes of 

My Wife and I. 

THE end. 

P. S. — If our kind readers still retain a friendly interest 
in the fortunes of any of the actors in this story, they may 
hear again from us at some future day, in the 

Becobds of an Unfashionable Stbeet. 



I 

4 

) 

I 

i 

1 



»! 



I! 



■ 



I 



t 



MIMllllliii 

3 bios 004 IflS 7Dh 




STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES '^^ 

STANFORD AUXILIARY LIBRARY 

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA 94305-6004 

(415] 723-9201 

All books may be recoiled after 7 days 



F/S, 



DATE DUE 



vm 



S 



HAR ^ m\ 



»% 



t^